A day without Mexicans; the new protest to demand a stop to femicides

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By Raúl Cortés Fernández and Diego Oré

MEXICO CITY, Mar 9 (Reuters) – Mexico woke up Monday with an unusual image in schools, universities, businesses and public institutions: very few women and girls occupied their places because of a national strike that seeks to make their weight visible in society and demand public policies to curb the plague of femicides that the country is experiencing.

A day after massive marches that dyed purple several Mexican and Latin American cities during International Women’s Day, outrage led to a large part of the female population, more than half of the 125 million Mexicans, not to leave their houses.

The national strike, dubbed “A day without us,” was called by several feminist groups after last year almost 1,000 women were killed in the country for gender reasons, 137% more than in 2015, when they began Keep the official record.

“We stopped because the death machine that has operated against us has to stop,” lamented the independent deputy Lucia Riojas, who did not go to work on Monday.

“We are not going to participate in this scenario that we wanted to sell as the only possibility of life,” he added. “Today, in absence and silence, the slogan of ‘no more’ resounds in the streets.”

The protest is inspired by a movement that emerged in Iceland. In October 1975, the women decided not to attend work, not devote themselves to household chores and, instead, take the streets of their country to demand equal rights.

The movement in the streets of the Mexican capital was less agitated than usual and with greater fluidity in vehicle traffic, the best thermometer to measure the activity of a frenetic city. However, many women, especially those living in labor informality, did go to work.

“They told me that if I didn’t come they wouldn’t pay me the day,” said Yesenia, a woman who works at a food stand in front of a busy capital highway.

“Yes, there is a lot of insecurity in Mexico. It happened to me, on one occasion I went on the subway, a man of legal age tried to spread,” he said.

While in other cities of the world women demand greater equality and the right to abortion, Mexican women have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demand that the Government put an end to femicides, in a country where 10 women are killed, on average, every day.

The feminist protest has become a headache for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, questioned of blaming “neoliberalism” for gender-based violence and asking women not to be “manipulated” by the “conservatives” they seek attack your government.

“I don’t think it’s of great impact,” the president said Monday about the effect of unemployment on the Mexican economy.

According to official data, women represent 40% of the workforce, but earn 34% less than men. A study by the Mexican subsidiary of the Spanish bank BBVA estimates that unemployment could cost more than $ 1.7 billion.

To replace the female absence, there were solutions such as that of the radio station W radio, which chose to use the voice of Google Translate to cover its female broadcasters and journalists, while some companies asked their male workers to wear some purple garment.

In other latitudes of Latin America feminist protests continued. The Argentine women, with flags and green scarves, began to concentrate in the center of Buenos Aires to attend a demonstration in the afternoon. In Chile, meanwhile, a “feminist strike” was called.

“Women are not respected,” said Antonia Cáceres, a 16-year-old student who participated in a protest in the Chilean capital.

“I am in a women’s school and you see a lot of machismo. A teacher once told us that math does not go with women, that we would never understand them,” he said.

(Additional report by Nicolás Misculin in Buenos Aires and Fabián Cambero and Aislinn Laing in Santiago, Chile)

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