Monday, June 17, 2024

2 Mexican activists make BBC’s 2022 list of inspiring and influential women

The BBC list of the world’s 100 most inspiring and influential women for 2022 is out — and two Mexicans are on it.

María Fernanda Castro Maya, a disability rights activist, and Ceci Flores, who began searching for victims of forced disappearance after her two sons were kidnapped by criminal gangs, were both recognized for their leadership in their respective fields.

Castro Maya is part of a group of Mexican advocates with disabilities — backed by Human Rights Watch — who promote participation in politics of people with intellectual disabilities. She was also a member of the Mexican delegation to the United Nations that presented a report on disability rights.

According to the BBC, her work includes the incorporation of accessible language in documents related to political decisions. She also promotes inclusion of disabled people in political parties and electoral events.

Cecilia Flores founded the collective Madres Buscadoras de Sonora (Sonora’s Searching Mothers) and has spent more than seven years searching for her two sons. In 2015, armed men took her 21-year-old son Alejandro and four years later, her other son Marco Antonio, 31, was kidnapped by a criminal gang. Her work is born from the fear of dying without knowing what happened to her children, she said. Under Flores’ leadership, the collective she founded has helped locate more than 1,000 disappeared persons in clandestine graves.

“The shortlist reflects the central role of women in conflicts around the world, from the protesters courageously demanding change in Iran, to the female face of conflict and resistance in Ukraine and Russia,” the BBC said.

Among the women listed are other Latin American names like Eva Copa, who the BBC said, “is revolutionizing politics in Bolivia;” Geraldina Guerra Garces, from Ecuador, who fights against femicide and gender violence in Latin America; and Argentinian environmentalist Sofia Heinonen, who worked to restore  the Esteros del Iberá — one of the world’s largest wetland ecosystems.

Some world-famous names also appear on the list, including global music phenomenon Billie Eilish, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska, and actresses Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Selma Blair.

With reports from BBC and Tele Sure English

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