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Gender equality remains far-off goal in Mexico

11-26-2012 17:39 BJT

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Despite the Mexican government's efforts to support women's rights, gender equity remains a far-off goal.

That's due to ongoing violence and discrimination against women in the country.

Efforts to significantly reduce violence against women in Mexico are insufficient according to sources consulted Sunday by Xinhua on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

According to the National Institute for Women (Inmujeres), the 2012 National Survey of Health and Nutrition (ENSANUT) showed that 38 percent of Mexican women aged 20-29 suffer abuses at home, more than 34.9 percent in public. In addition, Mexican women were attacked or abused more frequently at home than men.

According to the survey, 55 women surveyed have been verbally abused, which usually could hurt their self-esteem, while 25.7 percent of the women surveyed said they have suffered blows, kicks and punches.

Meanwhile, 36.8 percent of young women aged 10-19 report that they have been verbally abused and 36.4 percent say they suffer blows, punches, and sexual abuse, among other things.

According to Mexico's National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), 96 of every 100 victims of domestic violence are women. One in five women suffered violations at their homes last year, and one in three has suffered family violence of various kinds throughout her life.

Although there are laws in Mexico to protect women in cases of rape, there is still a long way to achieve true gender equality, said criminal law expert Jose Luis Zamora.

Zamora told Xinhua that if a woman is pregnant as a result of a violation, she does not have access to clearly established procedures to end her pregnancy, although she will not be punished in this case in the penal codes.

"In most of the 32 states of the country there are laws for women to protect them from violence, but not respected, nor is there enough political will that will create all necessary prerequisites and procedures for its real application," Zamora said.

Ocampo Verenice, a single mother and worker, said that in Mexico "we have nothing to celebrate on this day."

"There is no respect for labor rights of women because we are treated with contempt, shouting and humiliation," Verenice said.

Interviewed in a cosmetics factory in the south of the Mexican capital, Ocampo said Mexico does not provide support to women.

"I have to endure screams, groping and sexual harassment of my bosses during my work with the fear that I would be fired ... That's not fair," she said.

Social worker Lizeth Perez told Xinhua that mechanisms are needed for women to live free from violence.

"This can not be hidden as there is violence in Mexico and the world. But women are more exposed to physical and verbal abuse. Many husbands still think that we wives have a duty to be intimate with our partners against our will and this is not true. We also have the right to say no when we are not able to do it," Perez said.

"Nobody but us, speak for us. Now up to men, but especially to our leaders, listen and, indeed, act to achieve a society free of violence. Never again a Mexico without us," Perez added.

On Dec. 17, 1999, the UN General Assembly designated Nov. 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to organize activities designed to improve public awareness in this regard.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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