Women’s and gender studies

Gender inequality and women discrimination is deeply rooted in many cultures. However, there have been revolutions by feminists who are advocating for the rights of women and are against the injustices women face. This resulted in the formation of movements which are now very popular and have led to women receiving justice and playing an essential role within the communities and the countries. The following essay is going to bring to light these injustices and explain how women today are taking initiatives to ensure that their voices are heard and their rights upheld basing the context in Mexico and India.

A political scenario in Mexico based on research by Magali Barreto Avila explains how the women of Chiapas Mexico, took up arms to advocate for their rights and against the injustices against them. This was after the Zapatista Army of national liberation declared war on the Mexican government after the signing of the Free Trade Agreement by the government (Harvey, 1998). the indigenous women saw this as a chance to take up arms and advocate for a decent life and their rights such as the right to education, health, work, and land.

The Zapatista rebellion championed for the rights of indigenous women and issued the domestic women revolution law where indigenous women looked to take up new rights which were not part of their daily tradition (Oliviera, 2004,p486). This included issues of land re-appropriation and reclamation, participation and choose leadership positions, right to a life free of sexual and domestic violence, right to a fair wage and to determine a spouse. There was also advocating for economic freedom whereby women now were able to sell their surplus agricultural produce directly in the market.

In India, women discrimination was mainly experienced by Dalits. According to the Anandi collective, this was so as they were considered untouchables because of the work they did which included handling the dead matter of feces. However, this was faced out after the formation of the Dalit Mahila Samiti (DMS) which is an organizational name for the Dalit women movement in the north India state of Uttar Pradesh. The DMS movement alongside the Mahila Samakhya (MS) programme has a firm feminist grounding and are mainly concerned with the mobilization of the Dalit women and equipping them with necessary technical skills such as hand pump mechanics to restore and repair hand pumps of bore wells. They are also against the caste system in India and advocate for women to be primarily engaged in politics and take up leadership positions.

The two scenarios in the two countries clearly show oppressions and injustices committed against women because of their culture. Similarities that come out are that women were not allowed to participate in political discussions and debates actively and to hold any leadership position in the community and the country at large. There is also an element of women being deprived of some essential rights such as education, water, and economic freedom just because of their gender. This explains why numerous feminist groups have come up in these countries to provide women with a platform and a voice to air their grievances and injustices.

These social movements have helped eradicate some of these injustices in society. Although they are in different countries, some of their aims are similar and common to feminists worldwide. In regards to Mexico, the purposes of the Zapatista rebellion are the promotion of a good life (Buen Vivir) through the rural rationale which advocates for a peaceful life free from hunger. They also support against the capitalist policies of hoarding local markets known as tianguis which allow local communities to link to modernity and generate an indigenous world (McDowell,1999, p486). This has been made possible through the main foundation rules which ensure that only producers are allowed to sell and not retailers providing that money trickles down to the initial farmers who are mainly women allowing them the chance to get money thus take part in decision making within the community.

In India, the DMS has specific aims and goals that relate to the welfare of the Dalits. These include to change the caste system in the regions where Dalits work, to promote the leadership of local women, to protest against all forms of violence for both women and men. To negotiate terms with members of the upper caste during elections and to ensure that the benefits of government schemes announced under the Dalit-run regime and that power flows to all eligible Dalits.

These social movements bring to light political insights with regards to gender discrimination and the government stand on issues relating to women and gender injustices. For instance, the formation of these movements has resulted in the rise of a new indigenous or rural feminist imaginary (Hernandez, 2008,p286). However, this not only advocates for the right of women but also empowers women to take up leadership positions and to act as voices for women in broader public spheres and get involved in the decision-making process and articulating the different gender demands of the indigenous women. These movements have also shown the role women play in ensuring equality in all spheres of life that is politically, socially and economically thus giving all indigenous women a political voice.

The formation of social movements and their success has ensured the entry of women into the political forum. For instance, in India, the appointment of Ms. Mayavati, a Dalit woman as the chief minister in the state of UP. This gives pride to the Dalit people who were once considered untouchables.

Although these movements fight for different oppressions and injustices, they face struggles. Actions of solidarity are some of the ways to show support for their cause and ensure that their grievances reach the relevant people and are heard. Such measures include support for debates generated by these movements in communities to educate and raise consciousness on against practices of injustice and gender discrimination. Also attending public events which discrimination practices will ensure these movements have a voice and can be heard.

In conclusion, gender oppression and injustices are vices that hide behind culture and social status. However, these social movements are at the forefront to ensure that such discrimination is a thing of the past and that women too deserve to be heard and their rights upheld regardless of gender or community affiliation such as the Dalits in India. It also comes down to collective responsibility in supporting such movements thus ensuring rural development in all aspects of life and provision of necessary resources to provide a proper and peaceful experience.