Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Report: Mexican rural, indigenous women face challenges

Illiteracy and insecurity are just some of the problems Mexican rural women face according to a report released on International Women's Day.

The report by a Mexican peasants’ rights group found that most of the country’s thirteen million indigenous and rural women face many challenges. According to the Central de Organizaciones Campesinas y Populares (COCP) one out of every ten peasant women have some level of secondary education and that a third of indigenous peasant women are illiterate.

The conditions these women face affect their families; for example, children of these women tend to suffer from malnutrition. According to COCP, some families face difficulties when women migrate abroad due to a “lack of alternatives”. The report also claims that those women who work as migrant workers usually face abuses at the hands of their employers such as earning roughly half as much as their male counterparts.

With so few options available and increasing number of indigenous and rural women are getting involved in the drug trade. COCP president José Jacobo Femat told Mexican daily Excelsior that growing corn has become much less lucrative compared to narcotics. As a result, rural areas have become much more insecure and corrupt according to Femat.

The extreme situation face by rural women in Mexico raises the need for more action to be taken by the private and public sectors to help them move forward. The problems of rural women has not gone lost on the head of the U.N.’s agency against hunger:
“Gender equality is not only a noble idea but also crucial for agricultural development and food security,” said Food and Agriculture Organization director-general Jacques Diouf, according to the DPA news agency.

He insisted “we should promote gender equality and the potential of women in the agrarian field in order to…beat hunger and extreme poverty.”
Image- SDP Noticias
Online Sources- SDP Noticias, Excelsior, El Universal, Telam

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