In honor of International Indigenous Women Day, Mexico’s National Political Assembly of Indigenous Women (ANPMI) is lobbying for greater equality and exclusivity within government sectors.
Over the last 20 years, native communities have been almost completely excluded from the government framework, ANPMI member Zenaida Perez said during a press conference in Mexico City.
"We again raise our voice for the Mexican government to comply with the agreements and national and international treaties where they committed to transforming the unequal reality and exclusion that weighs on Indigenous peoples and women," Perez said.
A list of demands addressing needs in health, political, and educational sectors was composed and sent to government officials by the ANPMI, an organization representing native networks and over 20 Indigenous communities.
The nine-point document requests state administrators recognize Indigenous women as “subjects of the law” by considering them for positions of legislation, allowing them to purchase land, providing translation and interpretation services in public spaces, and introducing security guarantees for human rights defenders and to protect women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
The ANPMI also demanded Mexico create a variety of programs including a data analysis project to document discrimination against native people for reasons of gender and ethnicity in order to pinpoint the problem and develop real solutions.
Youth programs for Indigenous youths promoting ethnic differences, as well as establishing a national holiday and award to honor Mexico’s female Indigenous defenders were also requested.
"We want to recognize ourselves, make ourselves visible and make all the people from outside see us and respect us," said Maricel Zurita Cruz, a representative of the Indigenous Young Women's Network.
Roughly 25.7 million Mexicans, or 21.5 percent of the population, identify as Indigenous.
The upcoming administration has an obligation to the 13.2 million native women to provide them the opportunity and political power to live a dignified life, said Rosenda Maldonado, coordinator of the National Network of Indigenous Women, Tejiendo Derechos for Mother Earth and Territory (RENAMITT).
As part of his reformist plans, Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) announced last month the creation of the National Institute of Indigenous People (INAPI), which for the first time in Mexican history will have delegations throughout the country within the native communities, structured according to identification and language.