The last straw
On February 10th, Mexico woke up to the dreadful news that Fátima, a 25-year-old woman, had been brutally assassinated by her husband. Only five days later, on February 15th, Ingrid, a 7-year-old girl, was found in a plastic bag with signs of torture and rape. Unfortunately, Fátima and Ingrid are only two of the ten women and girls that die everyday due to intentional assaults, but they were the straw that broke the camel’s back. The accumulated femicides, the violence against women, and the President’s
disregard towards the subject had feminist groups outraged and they thus decided it was time to take action.
A day without us
An initiave initially proposed by a feminist group called “Las Brujas del Mar” (The Witches of the Sea) began to circulate in the media and little by little it reached thousands, something the group would have never imagined. The initiative asked women across the country to stay at home and remain silent. More specifically, they were asked not to show up to work or at school, to not go to the supermarket, to not post on social media nor answer texts. This with the purpose of showing the country what “A day without us”, the women, would look like. Countless companies, workplaces, schools and universities embarked in this initiative, encouraging all female workers, teachers and students to stay at home, without risking their jobs or academics.
The initiative took place on March 9th, the day after International Women’s Day, where thousands took the streets raising their voices against gender violence and fighting for equal rights. After a day full of commotion and rebellion, where women all over the world were undoubtedly heard, Mexico City woke up to an unusual silence. Traffic was lighter, metro stations were emptier and office hallways were quieter. Their absence could not go unnoticed. Going beyond empty and silent streets, it is estimated that this national strike, unprecedented in Mexican history, had economic repercussions of up to $290 million. This standstill completely paralized the productive and commercial activities of the country, demonstrating the key role that women play not only in society, but in the economy as well.
A transformation of gender equality
An unfortunate part of the story is that neither the desolated streets nor the economic impact of this strike had an effect on the country’s President. In his press conference on March 9th, he did not tackle the events and continued on with his agenda. His only concern towards the subject was that the strike sought to threaten the government’s legitimacy, but he continued undisturbed with the sale of raffle tickets for his Presidential plane. However, this national strike marked the beginning of a transformation of gender equality in Mexico.