Imagine a world without women. None in your classes, home, or job. Every position filled by a man, with no thought of another option. While this sounds like a dystopian fiction, The New York Times explains this is what the women in Mexico challenged men to do on March 9.
International Women’s Day, held on March 8, sought to celebrate women and help sponsor equal rights. However, UN Women discusses how many states are still far from achieving complete gender equality. This inequality is seen not just in lack of government representation and unequal pay, but also in violence. According to NPR, in Mexico nearly 4000 women died as a result of gender based violence in 2019 alone. Since the government is doing little to prevent them, women there have begun to take a stand.
The day after International Women’s Day, organizers held what they tagged as #UnDiaSinNosotras, or “A Day Without Us.” The strike called for women to remain in their homes, not going to their jobs or completing their regular activities. If the men in their lives were content to be complacent while women were dying, then these men would also have to realize the consequence of that complacency: a world with no women.
The Washington Post estimates that if all the women in Mexico participated on March 8, the country would have lost over $300 million in revenue. They quoted government worker Minerva Ovando Vilchis, who explained, “this is a way for us to say to the world that Mexican women have value.” NPR describes the subway in Mexico City being devoid of women, a shock to all those who expected the strike to fail. Tens of thousands of women participated in the strike, coming after a day filled with protest, according to The New York Times.
The protest in Mexico City on International Women’s Day drew over 80,000 women, according to NBC. In conjunction with Un Dia Sin Nosotras, the event attracted vast media attention. However, despite the events media coverage, activists are concerned as to whether President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will respond.
The women in Mexico protested because they hoped the government would finally respond to the violence against them. Yet, Lopez Obrador did not even come close to accomplishing that. According to The Guardian, Lopez Obrador said he will not even consider a new response to this issue, instead planning to “reinforce” prior methods of addressing femicide. Activists are quick to point out that reinforcing a policy of doing nothing is not reinforcing anything at all.
As the Financial Times describes, “you kill a woman here and nothing happens,” with the rate of women’s deaths being as great as 10 a day. As long as Lopez Obrador continues to do nothing, women’s activists will continue to take matters into their own hands. While their strike has not yet forced the national government to take action, it is causing people to take pause. Soon Mexico will realize that without women, their nation is incomplete.