It’s the road map for women and men getting the same real and tangible rights and obligations under the law.
Mexican men and women are equal in the eyes of the law. However, in reality, there’s a historical gap between men and women, as evidenced by the feminist movement in recent decades, but why gender equity is important?
Experts say that women continue to be discriminated against and that public policies haven’t been effective. “Women are half of humanity, and we need to be represented, have our viewpoints be part of the public discussion,” they say.
In 1995, the United Nations’ World Conference on Women in Beijing recognized women’s rights. It’s only been 26 years.
Ana Corojan, who is studying for a PhD in law, government, and public policy at the Autonomous University of Madrid, differentiates between this formal or legal equality and material equality.
The latter takes into account contextual circumstances such as gender, access to education, and people’s social and economic environment.
“Gender equality tells us there’s a legal equality which gives us the same rights by law, and gender equity includes actions implemented by the government to make everyone’s conditions equal so that we’re all on the same playing field. Those actions have to start from a basis of fairness that can be achieved only if each person or sector’s circumstances are taken into account.”
Read more: Sisterhood: a pact that actually helps women
It wasn’t until the early years of this century that Mexico began to implement public programs and policies such as the creation of national women’s institutes at the state and municipal levels, the publication of a legal framework such as the General Law for Equality between Women and Men, the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination, and in 2007, the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence.
“These actions correspond to expressions of gender equity: complementary, affirmative, temporary, and compensatory actions that recognize the structural inequality between women and men since we haven’t received or had access to the same resources or the same rights as men have,” explains Raquel Ramírez Salgado, a professor from the Center for Gender Studies and Research (CIEG) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Ramírez Salgado, who holds a doctorate in communications from the UNAM’s Faculty of Political Science, says that although women participate more in public life, they continue to suffer discrimination and violence just because they’re women, and power is still concentrated in the hands of men.
Ana Corojan says that it’s always in times of crisis like wars or pandemics that political and economic changes take place.
“In the two World Wars, women’s power increased because men were on the front lines. That was when they joined industries such as manual labor and agriculture. Women left home because they needed economic resources to survive.”
Corajan, who is a member of the #NoSinMujeres (Not Without Women) Network of Political Scientists, says that the achievements made in the area of gender equity over the past 20 years in the area of human and legal rights have been paralyzed for a year by the pandemic.
“That pause means it’s going to take twice as many years to achieve effective gender equity.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has been especially hard on Mexican women since they’re the ones who’ve been most affected by the loss of jobs and the ones who haven’t yet gotten their jobs back.
This is because they have more responsibilities at home to care for their children, care for the disabled and elderly, and do household chores. They also face situations of domestic violence.
The National Occupation and Employment Survey (ENOE) reported in the first quarter of this year that 1.6 million people had lost their jobs, with women being the most affected at 1.3 million (84% of the total) compared with 266,547 men (16%).
The number of people who remain unemployed compared with the first quarter of last year stands at 1.5 million women and 604,422 men.
This means that eight out of 10 people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic are women and seven out of 10 people who remain unemployed are also women.
These indicators show that there is unequal participation in the Mexican labor market.
In addition, femicides are on the rise: on average, ten women have died every day since 2020 as a result of violence by men.
The emergency phone number 911 reported 132,110 calls related to violence against women and girls from January to June of last year.
The above data doesn’t paint a very encouraging picture.
Ramírez Salgado observes that the biggest things left to do to achieve gender equity include responding to, preventing, and eradicating male violence against women and girls.
This is a structural problem that requires immediate attention.
“It’s important, firstly to have access to justice. We need people to be trained but, above all, we need action by the people in public service who attend to the needs of women. We need to create a culture of zero tolerance for this type of violence.”