‘Mexican Women Ready to Fight’: a history of violence and sexism in today’s Mexico
A book written by six top women journalists who contextualize and investigate the violence and the sexist state in which Mexico currently lives.
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“Only by learning the story of feminism in Mexico we will understand that it didn’t come to be to ‘oppose’ a politician, and neither are we ‘infiltrators’, as we have been called as a form of attack since the beginning. In 2018, with the left finally in power, accurate shots were expected… Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government is the most feminist in history? We can let journalism corroborate that.”
These are the words of Nayeli Roldán, Mexican journalist and coordinator of "Mexican Women Ready to Fight: In Spite of a Sexist Government, Violence", (Penguin Random House, 2022), a book written by six top women journalists who contextualize and investigate the violence and the sexist state in which Mexico currently lives.
"This book is a contribution to the discussion of the feminist movement from journalism. It seeks to put in context the stories of resistance and its struggle, beyond political ideologies and governments in office," writes Roldán, winner of the Ortega y Gasset Award and the 2018 National Journalism Award, in the book's introduction.
The work includes a series of reports that portray, with combative sensitivity, the current situation of women, the consequences of current public policies, the state of feminist struggles and the scenarios that lie ahead. From the sexist estate and its decisions, COVID-19, to the ensuing financial crisis, and brutal violence that have been particularly harsh against Mexican women.
In view of this, words and sorority, irrefutable data, explanations, intelligence, and dialogue are our weapons.
“I often think that the line ‘If you touch one, we all answer’ entails a troubling truth, because all of us or almost all of us—nine out of ten women, according to the statistics—have suffered some kind of violence,” wrote Alma Delia Murillo, author of the prologue.
“How wide is the range of what we don’t see, what hasn’t been told yet? How many stories could we find in that hunched-over old woman we see walking by the street, her body broken by her husband, and Fátima, the twelve-year-old girl who couldn’t pick up her poetry prize?”, she added. “We have one another, and we know, as we have known for generations now, that to change this patriarchal, violent system that is killing women, we must stand together and organize.”
In addition to Murillo, journalists Ivonne Melgar, Laura Castellanos, Valeria Durán, Daniela Rea, Claudia Ramos, all of them renowned professionals, have participated in the book with their work. Their contributions collaborate in this intergenerational dialogue that addresses feminicidal violence, public policies with a gender perspective, the feminization of care work and the history of feminism in the country through six different reports full of data and testimonies.
"We needed to expose why there are women protesting in the streets, the pain of mothers for the feminicides of their daughters, public policies with a gender perspective, if this Administration is the most feminist in history and if parity is synonymous with feminism," Roldán told El País newspaper. The book is aimed at women, "so that we can recognize that we are all companions in the same pain. And also for men. So that they can get into the context, assimilate the data, be moved by the stories and have empathy for why we women take to the streets to protest," she added.
Based on data, testimonies and rigorous work and sensitivity, the authors analyze the lack of support for working women, the reduction of budgets for programs that should be a priority (childcare centers, full-time schools, shelters, violence prevention) and denounce the denial of the facts by the Mexican government when it comes to admitting the prevailing machismo and the lack of opportunities for women of all ages.