The government of Mexico slashed funding for 20 programs that supported women and girls by nearly 2 billion pesos, or $105 million, gutting nine of them completely and severely hobbling the rest.
In response, organizers are planning a national women’s strike on March 9 to protest high levels of gender-based violence and the government’s apparent lack of interest in addressing it.
According to Mexico News Daily, the cut programs included one that promoted respect for women’s rights, childcare for mothers employed by the Health Ministry, and an inclusive education initiative.
Unfortunately, the cuts come amid a particularly low time for women and girls in Mexico. Earlier this month, a 25-year-old woman was brutally murdered by her boyfriend, who admitted to stabbing her to death after an argument. The same week, a 7-year-old girl was killed after she was kidnapped outside her school while she waited for her mother to pick her up. In Mexico, an average of 10 women were killed each day in 2019.
In November, more than 3,000 women marched in Mexico City to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, with representatives from women’s rights organizations demanding that the government help end violence against women. As one said, per Mexico News Daily,
“No more femicide! Not one less! We want to be alive. A life where the right to make decisions for our own bodies is not questioned by any dogma. A life where what is questioned is rape, not abortion, where the secularism of the state is respected,” they exclaimed.
Several members of the government support the March 9 strike, which could potentially cost the economy tens of billions of pesos. Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero admitted last week that commitment from the government to combat gender-based violence has “arrived late,” but insists it’s working to address the problem.
Meanwhile, President López Obrador last week derided protesters as a “feminist collective” who oppose “the moral regeneration we’re promoting.”
“I respect their views but don’t share them,” he said. “I believe we have to moralize the country, purify public life and strengthen cultural, moral and spiritual values.”