Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero admitted Friday that serious action by the government to combat violence against women has “arrived late,” but she said it is now committed to tackling the problem head on.
After a three-hour meeting with officials from several government agencies, Sánchez told reporters that any report of a missing woman or girl will immediately activate search protocols, whether or not a crime is believed to have been committed.
She requested the support of the judicial branch, asking that courts issue measures for the protection of women without the need for a formal report of gender violence.
She also said that the federal government will launch campaigns for the prevention of violence against women in all its forms and consolidate various government programs to protect women and girls.
Sánchez added that the government has identified the municipalities with the highest rates of violence against women in the country. They will be the focus of a comprehensive campaign of preventative measures, victim services and criminal prosecution.
“We’re working every day, coordinating, instructing, monitoring and implementing actions to prevent and attend these types of violence. We recognize that we have arrived late to deliver this message, that there have been limitations, that public policy has not been coordinated on many occasions nor been effective enough to confront this serious problem,” she said.
The former Supreme Court justice used Friday’s press conference to assert her dedication to the cause of eradicating gender violence and to implore feminists in the government not to “forget our origins, much less the social demands of gender.”
She added that the administration of President López Obrador is committed to reducing gender inequality and asserted that he is dedicated to the feminist cause.
Her defense of the president follows accusations that López Obrador has not taken the issue seriously. On Thursday morning, he described female protesters at the National Palace as a “feminist collective” that opposes “the moral regeneration we’re promoting.”
“I respect their views but don’t share them,” the president said. “I believe we have to moralize the country, purify public life and strengthen cultural, moral and spiritual values.”
When femicides came up at a press conference earlier this month, López Obrador appeared annoyed that the question interrupted his plans to talk about raffling the presidential plane. “I don’t want femicides to overshadow the lottery.”