Human rights without machismo
Human rights violations against women differ from those against men. Realizing that means we can offer more sophisticated responses to the different requirements for protection that women and men citizens will have. The institutionalization of gender mainstreaming in Mexico City’s Federal District Human Rights Commission, the CDHDF, is thus a very important project. Equidad de Género, a women’s organization set up in 1996, knows a great deal about many different domains, has expertise in organizational development, and maintains robust networks. That makes its ideally qualified to advise the Commission on both political substance and organizational structure.
Very early on, it was agreed that a dual strategy should be pursued: a program for the CDHDF as a whole, involving representatives from all sections, and individual projects as the need arose. Equidad de Género responds flexibly to the Commission’s needs, for example when a training course is required for a particular section, and also makes proactive suggestions of its own, for example proposing a set of guidelines for gender-inclusive language use. There are regular sessions where participants in the
process can reflect on issues and move them forward; in 2008, for example, the most important working documents were reviewed and amended.
Nowadays, gender mainstreaming is a firmly embedded component of the Commission’s institutional structure and routine. “It is impressive to see the work of Equidad de Género turning the entire Human Rights Commission upside down,” says Ingrid Spiller, who heads the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Central America, Mexico and the Carribean office. “With the introduction of gender mainstreaming, new gender-specific programs have been initiated; the Commission’s finances are now drawn up following the principles of gender budgeting; and even the institutional structure has been changed.” In 2007, after four years of cooperation, the Commission committed itself publicly and in writing to the adoption of gender-specific policies. “The gender perspective has already become an important tool for the Commission’s institutional development,” said the CDHDF’s president, Dr. Emilio Alvarez Icasa, on that occasion. The open-minded approach of the Commission members and their willingness to question the existing sclerotic structures contributed to this success, as did the years of tenacious work by Equidad de Género. To make sure none of that progress is eroded, the strong-minded women of Equidad de Género will monitor the process for some time to come.www.equidad.org.mx
Read more about:
- Mexico: “Soft” feminism via the mass media
- Mexico: Feminicide
- Brazil: Our bodies, ourselves
- Brazil: Doubly disadvantaged: Black women
- El Salvador: Gender democracy: an example that is setting a precedent
This Article is published in Gender Politics Makes a Difference - Experiences of the Heinrich Böll Foundation across the world.
- back to overview Women´s Voices Women´s Choices