Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas

Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas

Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas

Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas

Synopsis

Yielding pivotal new perspectives on the indigenous women of Mexico,Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapaspresents a diverse collection of voices exploring the human rights and gender issues that gained international attention after the first public appearance of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in 1994. Drawing from studies on topics ranging from the daily life of Zapatista women to the effect of transnational indigenous women in tipping geopolitical scales, the contributors explore both the personal and global implications of indigenous women's activism. The Zapatista movement and the Women's Revolutionary Law, a charter that came to have tremendous symbolic importance for thousands of indigenous women, created the potential for renegotiating gender roles in Zapatista communities. Drawing on the original research of scholars with long-term field experience in a range of Mayan communities in Chiapas and featuring several key documents written by indigenous women articulating their vision,Dissident Womenbrings fresh insight to the revolutionary crossroads at which Chiapas stands-and to the worldwide implications of this economic and political microcosm.

Excerpt

Lynn M. Stephen, Shannon Speed, and R. Aída Hernández Castillo

The public appearance of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in 1994 served as a catalyst in the organization of indigenous women in Mexico. Zapatista women became important advocates of indigenous women's rights through the Women's Revolutionary Law. This charter, written in consultation with Tojola'bal, Chol, Tzotzil, and Tzeltal women who were members of the ezln, was made public on January 1, 1994, and has been of great symbolic importance for thousands of indigenous women in peasant, political, and cooperative organizations. Women from throughout Mexico have voiced their support for the demands of their compañeros (brothers and sisters in struggle) and the collective interests of their communities. Parallel to their participation in the struggle for land and democracy, these women have begun to demand the democratization of gender relations within the family, the community, and social and political organizations. Indigenous women have also developed and practiced strategies of everyday resistance. in some cases, they have been able to appropriate spaces in policy and decision making that previously had been the sole province of the state. Both through collective organizing and through individual actions in their daily lives, indigenous women have been confronting hegemonic ideologies that legitimate and perpetuate the subordination of women.

The women's organizing described in this book has taken place in two key contexts: the most highly developed and coordinated national indigenous movement for self-determination and rights in Mexico's history and the consolidation of the neoliberal economic model in Mexico. Here, we provide a brief description of the political, economic, and cultural context that led to the emergence of the ezln in 1994 and its links to the neoliberal economic model implemented in the 1980s in Mexico.

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