A new paper from London Met’s Dr María E. López argues women suffer from a dominant male chauvinist ideology that is exacerbated by President López Obrador’s administration.
Date: 25 May 2022
"We are tired of being told it is not a big deal": Institutional Machismo in Mexico, published in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, investigates the Mexican government's contempt for women. María argues that while violence impacts the lives of both men and women in Mexico, women suffer from a dominant male chauvinist ideology that is exacerbated by President López Obrador's administration. María refers to 'institutional machismo' as the lack of interest in and limited resources from the government for addressing the (criminal) violence against women in Mexico. This exacerbates the violence against women on the streets and promotes negative stereotypes about them as sexual objects and cheap labour from which men should benefit. This paper thus argues for the urgent need to engage the government with women's issues in Mexico.
In her paper, María addresses the various ways in which 'institutional machismo' manifests in Mexico. For example, it is revealed in President López Obrador's lack of interest in and knowledge of women and the issues that impact them most, like gender-based violence, in the existing crisis of violence in Mexico. Similarly, he presents feminist activism as a "conservative" movement that was created "two years ago" to weaken his political project, justifying the authorities' inefficient management of cases of violence against women and the aggressive police protocols against feminist marches.
María explains how 'institutional machismo' manifests in the recent cuts to the already deficient legal support provided to at-risk women and victims of violence in Mexico. She argues that such budget cuts are detrimental for organisations that depend on state funding to run national programmes countering violence against women, including Housing for Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Women and the National Network of Shelters for Women Victims of Violence.
This piece also recognises the efforts made by feminist activists to confront the Mexican government's contempt for women by denouncing the government to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for it supporting a "patriarchal and repressive regulatory framework" that criminalises and stigmatises women activists.
Finally, María presents several recommendations to improve the position of women in Mexico, including the maintenance of adequate and consistent financial support for preventive and protective programmes for victims of gender-based violence, as well as the active participation of women as co-producers of solutions.
Moving women and the violence against them to the frontline of policy debates in Mexico is an important step in challenging the culture of impunity and 'institutional machismo' and addressing the country's human rights crisis of gender-based violence.
The full paper was published in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs on 20 May 2022.
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Image: Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico. By Eneas De Troya under a Creative Commons license.