Social Issues

Int’l Women’s Day: Mexican women demand end to discrimination of minorities

By Cristina Sanchez Reyes

Mexico City, Mar 8 (EFE).- Thousands of women marched Wednesday in Mexico’s capital to demand an end to marginalization and violence affecting female members of minority and historically discriminated groups.

Setting off Wednesday from the iconic Glorieta de las mujeres que luchan (Roundabout of the Women Who Fight), a monument that recently replaced a statue of Christopher Columbus, cancer patients participated for the first time in International Women’s Day rallies in Mexico City.

“To remind them (the feminists) that we’re part of the movement, that we’re women just like they are, cancer patients 365 days a year,” Sandra Monroy, a breast cancer survivor and founder of the “Jodete Cancer” (Screw Cancer) movement in Mexico, told Efe.

The women protested against the different forms of violence they face, not only misogynist violence but also medical violence – a lack of opportune diagnostic and treatment services that prevents them from enjoying basic health rights.

“We need timely and proper medical consultations. Delays can be as much as six (months), a year, a year and a half. (We’re dealing with) late diagnoses, discrimination, if you’re young, if you’re of another race, another ethnic group, if you’re overweight, if you’re not overweight. So it’s important to talk about it,” Monroy said.

That group of women also honored the memory of Mar Vazquez, a cancer patient who died on March 3 at age 33 of triple-negative breast cancer. Vasquez was the victim of an initial misdiagnosis, which protesters said occurred because she was young.

“We’re here to march for her, to dedicate this to her … for every person who knew Mar. You’ll see her words are going to resonate,” Virginia Camarillo, Vazquez’s cousin, said.

They said their scars are a maximum badge of honor and demanded that no other woman in Mexico lose her life due to the lack of a timely diagnosis or a shortage of medications.

“It’s not right for them to take your life away if you have the chance to live. Health access is your right,” Monroy said.


A contingent of women who called themselves “las gordas” (the fat ones) also took part in the International Women’s Day demonstrations with the aim of combating the negative connotation surrounding that word.

“We’re super excited because I told them that I marched last year and felt ashamed because of fat-phobic comments, (felt) very vulnerable in denouncing those violences and there was a sense of little in the way of understanding,” Fernanda Hernandez, who headed up that contingent, told Efe.

Last year’s negative experience motivated her to organize a contingent made up of other women with similar body types to hers.

“We refer to ourselves as ‘las gordas.’ It’s a way of appropriating the insult that’s been used … it’s precisely about taking possession of this and giving the meaning that being fat means this flesh. It’s not an illness. It’s not an insult,” she said.

That group of around 20 women recalled that they have been stigmatized and discriminated against because of their bodies but said that on International Women’s Day they are raising their voices to bring an end to that injustice.

“There’s a message out there that (losing weight) is about health, but it’s not true. They’re violating (our rights) and we know that human rights are being undermined because of this discourse,” said Shandal Jasso, president of the Association for Bodily and Dietary Liberation (ALICyA).

International Women’s Day is being observed amid a wave of gender violence in Mexico, with more than 10 women killed per day and with the number of women and girls reported as disappeared having hit a record high of nearly 30,000. EFE


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