Mexican women to ‘disappear’ for a day to protest violence

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Don’t go out. Don’t shop. Don’t go to school. Don’t consume. The urging from women’s activists is clear, but it remains unclear whether Mexico will really go a day without women today.

After a year of increasingly heated and frequent protests over gender violence in Mexico, the call for women to strike has captured growing interest in recent weeks.

It has also generated an intense debate about whether becoming “invisible” for a day will be a political statement, a diluted effort because some bosses have authorised paid time off or an ineffective way to push for change.

The discussion has gone beyond the usual circles of feminist collectives, public figures and social networks to become a conversation topic in the streets of Mexico, even for those who don’t feel empowered to skip work.

Marta Patricia Ramírez, a housewife, said the national call to strike has inspired her to take action in her own neighbourhood. She has organised a Monday event with neighbours to discuss harassment and abuse because one of them is “having a bad time.”

Jesica Solis, a dentist, won’t open her office. Marta Pérez told her husband that she won’t lift a single plate Monday and that their 18-year-old daughter will stay off social media.

A Facebook group called “A Day Without Women” has more than 320,000 Mexican members who debate and inform each other about the possible consequences of not going to the office, hospital or school that day.

A message to the group says a woman staying indoors today is meant to “simulate” her death – to show those close to her what would happen if she were to suddenly disappear or die at the hands of a man, like the thousands who are killed each year in Mexico.

Government data said 3,825 women met violent deaths last year, seven per cent more than in 2018. That works out to about 10 women slain each day in Mexico, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world for females. Thousands more have gone missing without a trace in recent years.