Mauricio Vila, governor of Yucatán, inaugurated the second National Congress of Women Politicians in the Peón Contreras Theater in Mérida on Oct. 17.
The event marked the 69th anniversary of the recognition of women’s right to vote in Mexico. In fact, the first feminist women’s congress in Mexico – and second ever in Latin America – was held in the same venue in 1916.
During the event, the governor pointed out that even though results have been positive in terms of gender parity, they are still not enough.
On that same note, Patricia Olamendi, an attorney, activist, and founder of the feminist advocacy group “Todas México”, said there is still work to do, and lamented Mexico’s track record on child trafficking as well as child and teen pregnancy. However, she applauded the local government’s efforts to pass the “3 for 3 against violence” law.
This initiative, which has been made law in the states of México, Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Yucatán, aims to prevent those who are under investigation or have been convicted of crimes including domestic violence or sexual assault, or those who owe child support, from reaching public office. The legislation mandates that any candidate for an elected position must have a clear record.
“We will continue to defend our right to life, security, and democracy. We will support those who protect and guarantee women’s rights and those who include our feminist agenda in their public office,” said Olamendi.
In addition to the “3 for 3” legislation, the governor promised new amendments to existing women’s rights laws have been promoted, including the “ley vicaria” – a term that was first used in Spain – which is designed to protect women from men who violently use threats involving joint children in order to intimidate or harm their former partners.
Furthermore, governor Vila noted that since 2018, the budget for the Office for the Protection of Children and Adolescents has increased by 312%.
He also said that all municipalities in Yucatán have a local institute for women, and there are 34 “violeta” regional centers (the color purple is historically associated with feminist movements), which support female victims of gender violence and discrimination.
Yucatán has also promoted other initiatives, such as the “Walk Safely” strategy, which provides training for public transport personnel to prevent street harassment and sexual violence.
Along with the private sector, the local government developed a program through which companies can request free training for their employees to create a healthy and safe work environment for women. So far, eighteen companies have enrolled in the program.
Recognizing Yucatán’s role in protecting women’s rights, the federal congressional deputy Blanca María del Socorro Alcalá Ruiz acknowledged the state has had a “strategic vision with strong support for women.”