Mexico is among the 20 worst countries in the world to be a woman, according to the 2019 US News & World Report.
This says a lot about the country’s social dynamic. There’s a lack of justice, human rights, safety and equality. Truly, there’s a lot of work to do.
Most recent estimates warn that up to 9 women in Mexico are killed every day and many more suffer violence. The data is scary. What’s even scarier is that the Mexican justice system allows impunity. Safety and security in the country is not good enough for anyone, and for women it is particularly bad.
The Mexican government ‘try’ not to ignore this issue. Thanks to international attention and efforts, Mexico has shown growing commitment to preventing violence against women. We do have some laws in place, such as Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia (General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence). This law includes an interesting and unique mechanism – referred to as the ‘gender alert’.
What is Mexico’s gender alert?
In the translated words of the Mexican government:
“The gender alert is a mechanism for the protection of women’s human rights, unique in the world (…) It consists in a set of emergency governmental actions to confront and eradicate feminicide violence and / or the existence of a comparative grievance that limits the full exercise of the human rights of women, in a given territory.”
The goal is to guarantee safety for women in areas where violence is particularly pervasive. The problem? It’s not a preventive policy. There are multiple risks facing women and girls every day and yet our authorities wait until things are out of control to activate the alert.
The ‘gender alert’ could do so much more if it were used differently.
Things are not getting better. Femicides continue. Violence continues. Women and society at large are begging authorities to take real action.
There is no way to pretend the ‘gender alert’ is effective. It has now been activated in more than 13 states. We continue to activate this policy in more and more states, while ignoring the causes and reasons. We must innovate and commit to finding solutions to gender violence in Mexico.
The risk and fear must stop.
We have to address the roots of the problem. Even thought Mexico’s gender alert mechanism is not enough to eliminate violence against women, it is a foundation to build on.
The Mexican government need to look beyond ‘covering up’ the situation and truly put in the hard work required to stop violence. It’s never too late.