Women of Mexico

Check out womanpower at Infoshop!  Feminist photographer Rochelle Gause has posted some absolutely amazing photos taken at the Womens March in Oaxaca on November 19th.  She has also posted an excellent essay about what has happened and is happening in Oaxaca at Infoshop News.

How the Movement Began

Seventy percent of the 3.5 million people who live in the state of Oaxaca are indigenous. Over half live in abject poverty, 35 percent do not have piped water in their homes. You can’t spend a day in Oaxaca City without seeing poor native women with barefoot children in tow who have come from the surrounding villages to try and make money selling gum and cigarettes. Many of the rural communities are empty of men who have fled to the states to try and make money filling the low pay, harsh labor jobs the U.S. economy depends on. The Mexican constitution demands that all children have the same access to education. And yet today in Oaxaca the average person spends only 5.6 years in school, two years less than the national average. The conditions in the rural schools are extremely poor, with a lack of basic infrastructure. Children often come to school hungry, barefoot and are without desks, books and pencils. For the past 26 years Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers has held an annual statewide strike. Some of the demands this year included raises, basic supplies and breakfast for the students. Each year the teachers camp out in the main square of Oaxaca city until an adequate compromise is reached. This year things played out a little different. At 4:30 am on June 14th while teachers and their families were sleeping, 3000 police raided the encampment, a helicopter fired teargas from the sky, cops beat people, burnt their belongings leaving over 100 people injured. The teachers resisted with sticks and rocks, reclaiming the square later the same day. And they have remained ever since.

For additional information, try the following:

"People before profit" (understanding Oaxaca & US economic imperialism)
http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/7/6/111531/oaxaca%20flyer1.pdf

NAFTA & women in Mexico
http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/7/6/111531/womenfreetrade-1.pdf

"Women Will Not Give Up" (their role in Oaxaca & Palestine)
http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/7/6/111531/OaxacaPalestineflyer2.pdf

(also, a nice resource with continuing coverage on women in Oaxaca is
http://brownfemipower.com/)
 
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