Patricia Galeana at the presentation of the study. Professor Galeana at the presentation of the study.

Women’s subservience still common in MX

50% of women must ask husband's permission before leaving the house alone

The results of a national survey that explores opinions on gender roles confirm that Mexico still has a lot of work to do to achieve equality between the sexes.

Called “Asymmetric Genders: Representations and perceptions of the collective imagination,” the survey found that many Mexican women remain subservient to their husbands.

Twenty-three per cent of respondents said that women still ask for permission from their husbands or partners to work and almost 50% said that they seek consent before going out alone or at night.

Patricia Galeana, a professor in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the National Autonomous University (UNAM), and Patricia Vargas from the University of Guadalajara designed and carried out the survey across several states in conjunction with the UNAM Legal Research Institute.

Galeana presented their findings on Tuesday at a symposium focusing on women working in public administration that was held at the main UNAM campus in Mexico City.

At the conference, she said that 52% of those polled had said they agreed with the phrase that “if a woman studies, she becomes more rebellious.”

Some of the other topics the study explored were “being a man and being a woman,” “gender stereotypes,” “masculinity and emotions,” “motherhood and fatherhood,” “political rights” and the “perception of feminism and its effects.”

On the topic of “relationships and violence,” 88.1% of respondents said that it was a part of family life while 30% said they considered that hitting a child was justified in order “to correct” their behavior.

Just over 6% said that hitting a woman was justified “when she hits you” and 4.7% said it could be justified “when it is necessary to correct her.”

While the survey found that men do contribute to housework, there was a tendency for them to complete tasks that took less time such as taking out the trash, making beds, looking after pets and making repairs. In effect, it showed that a disproportionate amount of domestic chores are still completed by women.

Galeana also said that other statistics, not contained within the survey but related to it, provide further evidence of the reality that women in Mexico face today.

Seven out of every 10 rapes in Mexico City occur within families, she said, adding that in 90% of the cases the victims’ mothers were aware of what happened but couldn’t do anything about it because of the intimidation and threats they were subjected to.

However, she also stressed that mothers had a role to play in reducing the prevalence of machismo in Mexican culture because they are central to a child’s upbringing.

“Establishing a formal and informal education system in respect to the rights of people independent of their sex, ethnicity, age, ideology, sexual preference, or any other condition is indispensable,” she concluded.

Source: El Universal (sp)

Reader forum