I was in Mexico recently. I was reminded through conversation with colleagues there how the status of women in Mexico remains low, relative to men. Coming across this piece in The Guardian this morning reminded me of those conversations.
- Lopsided lineup reignites debate about representation of women in Mexico
- ‘What next? A conference on racism with only white people?’
The lineup featured two panels with 11 participants – and all of them were male. It was, as one woman tweeted, the graphic description of “mansplaining”.
The lopsided lineup provoked outrage on Twitter, reigniting debate about the representation of women in Mexican society and the role of men in feminist movements in a deeply machista country where seven women are murdered every day.
“What’s next? A conference on racism with only white people?” asked another Twitter user.
Organised by the humanities department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Unam), the 11 October conference appears to be intended as a homage to the feminist scholar Marta Lamas, who will host the event and debate the 11 men. The university did not immediately respond to queries about the event.
Many feminists saw the format as an insult or an act of provocation.
“Feminism for dummies: we don’t have a single representative, there are many of us and we’re very diverse. Invite many women to your debates,” tweeted the feminist blogger Ana González.
The under-representation of women in Mexican society spurred a group of feminists to found Con Nosotras, an initiative that encourages public speakers to boycott all-male forums.
“It’s good that this has created debate about the issue,” said co-founder Susana Ochoa. “I think their intention was good but it wasn’t communicated appropriately. ”
Ochoa said the incident could prompt Mexicans to consider the importance of including women in public debate. “Women have not been represented in this country for a long time,” she said.
Regina Tamés, the director of GIRE, a reproductive rights organisation, defended the event, saying on Twitter: “It’s an event which male allies and friends are going to honour Marta. She has spent 45 years speaking with women.”
For many, the incident illustrated a frequent problem related to male involvement. “Feminists don’t hate men,” González said. “We just want them to stop being protagonists everywhere.”