Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Revolutionary Law of Women

Today, November 20th, Dia de la Revolucion is celebrated in Mexico so I've been geeking out reading up on it. Well, I read a few pages to brush up on the basics (Diaz, Villa, Zapata), but got completely side tracked by the Zapatista Women's Movement. It surprised me to read about the role women played in the Mexican Revolution, after years of being second class citizens they rose up as leaders, thinkers, politicians, poets and "soldaderas", fighting in combat alongside the men. The war against Porfirio Diaz was a fight to end discrimination of all kinds, a fight for the rights of women, children and indigenous people. The battle could not have been won without the women.

On further reading, I came upon some great articles about the modern day Mujeres Zapatistas. Ancient women and young girls fighting side by side in Chiapas against a military presence and for their "Revolutionary Law of Women". Here's the first ten, I think they've got the right idea.
  • Women, regardless of their race, creed, color or political affiliation, have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle in any way that their desire and capacity determine.
  • Women have the right to work and receive a just salary.
  • Women have the right to decide the number of children they have and care for.
  • Women have the right to participate in the matters of the community and have charge if they are free and democratically elected.
  • Women and their children have the right to Primary Attention in their health and nutrition.
  • Women have the right to education.
  • Women have the right to choose their partner and are not obliged to enter into marriage.
  • Women have the right to be free of violence from both relatives and strangers. Rape and attempted rape will be severely punished.
  • Women will be able to occupy positions of leadership in the organization and hold military ranks in the revolutionary armed forces.
  • Women will have all the rights and obligations which the revolutionary laws and regulations give.
I think it's great that women are standing up for their rights and protecting their family. I wish it would spread around the country a bit more. I'm still often amazed by the "old fashioned" (to me) attitudes about the roles of women. It seems that in many families the women are expected to fill the housewife/maid/mother role, and to be somewhat subservient to their husbands. I am not saying it is the norm anymore, but it certainly is still quite evident. Heck, my own husband has tried to tell me that I have "duties" because I am the woman, but I just laugh and laugh and laugh. Domestic abuse is not reported nor is it very often prosecuted. There are still a lot of things that a woman in Mexico needs to fight for. I think if more women around the world could read the Zapatistas Women's Law, they might be able to make some changes in their lives. The women in Chiapas are fighting for basic rights to survival, they are courageous and strong in the face of powerful and dangerous entities. Rock on Zapatista Women. Viva la Revolucion!


Anonymous said...

MOre power to those women !!! They should stand up for their rights!!

Fned said...

Weren't they called something like "las adelitas" during the Revoultion?

I remember being in the 6th grade and having to participate in the annual Desfile del 20 de Noviembre of my school. They made all the boys dress up as revolutionary indians in pantalones de manta and sobreros and us girls dress up as "adelitas" (indian women in guaraches with fake "rambo-like" rows of bullets on the front of our dresses and fake babies in a rebozo on our backs).... talk about sending a message! ;)

Viva la RevoluciĆ³n et que vivan las viejas!! ;)


Anonymous said...

What's sad to see is how the Chiapanecos have replaced the Yucatec Maya at the bottom of Cancun's class system. I think they face a lot of the same issues that the Maya faced twenty years ago.

Sorry to be a bummer. :)

But I'm psyched to learn of the role that the Mujeres Zapatistas are playing in la lucha!

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