International Women's Day, March 8: Achievements are fundamental

International Women's Day, March 8, is a wake-up call to the problems faced by this sector. In legal matters, it is necessary to ensure that the rules are complied with.

International Women's Day, March 8: Achievements are fundamental
Women's achievements are fundamental. Photo by Leighann Blackwood / Unsplash

Seventy percent of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty are women, and in urban areas, 40 percent of the poorest households are headed by women, according to the United Nations (UN).

On the occasion of International Women's Day, which is commemorated on March 8, Patricia Galeana Herrera, director of the UNAM Women's Museum, affirms that this date "has great significance because it is a wake-up call to the entire international community to be aware of the problems of violence and femicide that occur in several countries, including our own".

Since the beginning of the last century, there had already been martyrs in this struggle for women's rights who had demanded better salaries (because sometimes they earn less than half of what men earn for equal work), in addition to struggles for political and civil rights.

Although progress has been made, during the pandemic, inequality between and within countries has become evident. In the case of gender inequality, it has increased because women are the ones who have the most work in the home, who suffer the most violence in confinement due to aggression from their male partners, who suffer stress and depression, in addition to the fact that femicides and impunity continue in this area.

On this date, we should reflect on what we still need to do to achieve a culture of substantive equality between men and women.

Although in Mexico they were recognized as full citizens in 1953 -when they were granted the vote at the federal level, a year after the UN considered that it is not possible to be a democratic country if half of the population lacks this condition-, this achievement has been difficult, as well as civil rights and establishing that violence is a crime.

A greater challenge is faced with femicides, since "the patriarchal culture in which men are born to command and women to obey has not been deconstructed, and when women do not obey, violence ensues", emphasizes Galeana Herrera. The achievements in legal matters are fundamental, but we have to ensure that these norms are complied with and that the authorities provide security to their citizens.

We are at an important moment in what has been called the fourth wave of feminism, where a series of practices that were considered almost normal, such as harassment, is becoming visible. Speaking about the Women's Museum, its objective for the past 11 years has been to create a culture of gender equity and respect for human rights.

"As a historian, I thought it was very important for visitors to learn about the history of women's struggles in Mexico, which had been omitted from national history, except for two or three cases," she says. The precinct shows that women have participated in the construction of our nation in different periods and spheres. It is an open book for the entire population, which shows the history of Mexico from a gender perspective.

A sustainable tomorrow

The UN indicates on its website that 80 percent of the people displaced by disasters and climate-related changes in the world are women and girls; this phenomenon can lead to more gender-based violence, an increase in child marriages, and worsening sexual and reproductive health, the agency points out on its website.

It also considers that enhancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. It is increasingly evident that women are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change than men, as they make up the majority of the world's poor and are more dependent on the natural resources affected by this environmental threat.

Women predominate in world food production but own less than 10 percent of the land. Women and girls are effective and powerful leaders who are driving change to achieve climate mitigation and adaptation. They are involved in sustainable initiatives around the world and their intervention and leadership generate more effective climate action.

To achieve sustainable development and greater gender equality, it is essential to continue to explore the opportunities, as well as the constraints, to enable them to have a voice and equal participation in climate change decision-making. Without gender equality today, a sustainable and equal future will remain out of reach.

That is why this year's celebration of International Women's Day is themed "Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow". We cannot fail to be aware that our planet is depleted. We all need to work for this sustainable development, and we women have a lot to do since there is ecological feminism that promotes this sustainable development.