The entire world just celebrated International Women’s Day, an occasion established years ago by the United Nations.
Despite many efforts and achievements, despite there being organizations that protect women and committees that fight violence against them throughout the world, millions are still victims of inequality, violence, discrimination and abuse.
Women suffer the most in countries with very low levels of education and primitive customs, mainly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where cultures with high levels of ignorance and superstition converge. In such places women carry the greatest share of responsibility for their families, but they also suffer domestic violence.
Mexico is a matriarchal country, as evidenced by the esteem in which we hold our mothers. The importance that women hold for us is also seen in our major religious devotions: the Virgins of Guadalupe, of la Soledad, of Juquila, and many others in several regions across the country, like San Juan de los Lagos, of the Remedies, of Zapopan, among others.
During festivities for Mother’s Day, one of the most important holidays in Mexico, we flood restaurants and organize family reunions that nobody dares miss.
But even as we are surrounded by such reverence to the mother, our treatment of women is far from being consistent. There’s still a huge income disparity between men and women in the same jobs, be it nursing, medicine, public service or manufacturing.
We are trying to improve this, as political parties now nominate women and men in equal proportions, and one out of every five candidates has to be younger than 30.
What we’re talking about is respect towards women: sharing housework and the education of the children as a couple, avoiding the sense of superiority some male kids have over their sisters.
There’s a phrase that makes good sense: “New machos are created by their mothers, not their fathers.”
We must strive to change our attitude towards women, going beyond mere lip service in how we treat them.
We cannot let the energy, effort and talent of just over 50% of our population go to waste. Women must be justly represented in our national life.
By Armando González, journalist and broadcaster living in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico.
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