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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Making history: the women's strike at the UAM

Making history: the women's strike at the UAM
In the women's strike at the UAM, students from the Lerma campus, on the outskirts of the State of Mexico, denounce the environment of violence against women that exists in the region where this campus is located, the youngest of the UAM.

The strike in the Metropolitan Autonomous University ?UAM? turns 14 days It began two days after March 8, when the students gathered to march together and began to discuss how to organize themselves in the face of cases of gender violence in said house of studies. 

The straw that broke the camel's back was the complaint of a rape committed by a student who admitted the facts according to an official statement from the UAM. However, the incident is not isolated because, according to the students' complaints, gender violence at the University is a structural problem. 

The young women, demonstrating that in addition to their actions, they carry out political-ideological discussions, subscribe to intersectional feminism that integrates problems of race, class, and gender. From there they discuss and make decisions.

«Silence should never be an option. We will not allow spaces where our dreams seek to materialize, continue to be misogynistic with impunity”, affirmed the students of the UAM Lerma unit. 

Each one of the units, headquarters of the university, chose two spokespersons for the press conference in school assemblies so that the entire student community would be represented. At the table from which they address the media, a feminist flag and 10 young people who decided to wear their hoods to hide their identities were observed. 

Each of the questions from the media was answered by all the units because, the young women point out, the conditions of each school are different and their particularities deserve to be dealt with in concrete ways. 

What does the women's strike require at the UAM?

The case of rape uncovered the great problems that the university faces when it comes to difficulties related to women: re-victimization, intimidation against those who denounce, and even persecution of those who mobilize, just to name a few facts that young women face at the time of go to study. 

That is why, in addition to the corresponding sanction for the young man who sexually abused his partner, the UAM women's strike demands measures to prevent gender violence, action protocols to guarantee that complaints are dealt with and, in In the case of the Cuajimalpa unit, the departure, either by resignation or dismissal, of Esther Morales Franco, academic secretary of the Division of Social Sciences and Humanities, for revictimizing students who denounce violence.

After intense discussions by school, each one of the units also specified their demands and problems, while each unit specified a petition document where the various demands of the student community and the women that make it up are integrated. 

For example, they demand improvement of public transport because, they affirm, most of the units are located in dangerous places in the metropolitan area, so they feel exposed to any type of violence. 

In addition, they demand that the work of street vendors that some students develop to maintain their studies be respected. 

The students from the Azcapotzalco, Lerma, Iztapalapa and Xochimilco units are clear that the strike began in the Cuajimalpa campus, to which the sexually assaulted young woman belongs. In their speeches they refer to the students of this campus as "brave sisters". 

But they are not the only ones to whom thanks are directed. The men have also received recognition, since the young women affirm that it has been good for them to join the strike and, above all, they recognize the teachers who have organized themselves in solidarity to support them by sending them food, participating in some guards, and even bring them books to continue training. 

The teachers, present at the press conference, decided not to participate or present their point of view, since they consider that it is the young women who should take the voice and lead the movement. But their eyes speak for themselves: they look at their students with enthusiasm and joy, they take care of them and guide them in a caring and respectful way. 

Thus, the young women carry on their shoulders the responsibility of a historic moment: the first time that the entire UAM has gone on strike due to the demands of the women.

You may be interested in: Marching at 16 as a Mexican woman

Ingrid Sanchez
Ingrid Sanchez
Journalist and Latin Americanist. He has worked on issues of social movements, gender and violence.


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