In recent years, the feminist movement in Mexico has gained momentum, uniting diverse generations, social classes, racial and gender identities to demand the government a life free of violence, adequate access to sexual and reproductive health, and to end gender oppression. The United Nations ranks the country as one of the most violent for women in the world. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), 66% of all Mexican women age 15 and older have experienced violence in their lives. Forty-nine percent have suffered from emotional violence, 41% from sexual violence, and 34% from physical violence. Of the women who have been victims of violence, 79% decided not to report it. Every day 12 women are killed; this number seems to go up due to the COVID-19 lockdowns: exposing girls and women to even more violence.
In addition, Mexico has the highest adolescent birth rate of all the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, with 62 out of every 1,000 pregnancies occurring in girls and adolescents. While the number of adolescent pregnancies decreased from 400,000 to 340,000 a year after the National Strategy to Prevent Adolescent Pregnancy was launched in 2015, the rate is still alarmingly high. Adolescent birth delivery is the leading cause of mortality in girls between 15 and 19 in Mexico. Other troubling aspects of the problem include the high rate of clandestine abortions and adolescents not knowing how to seek help during pregnancy and take prenatal care.
Despite the above, there have been some gains by non-profits and activists in achieving the inclusion of comprehensive education on sexuality and gender perspective in the curricula of elementary schools. However, this is not always the case because, on the one hand, there is not enough training for teachers responsible for teaching these topics. On the other hand, there is still stigma and resistance to openly talk about sexuality. Public policies are insufficient and still do not guarantee access to quality sexual education, based on scientific evidence and free of prejudices, combined with problems such as partner violence, early pregnancy, and the spread of sexually transmitted infections, often developed in contexts of gender and social inequality.
Lastly, today, a feminist social media wave is characterized by the flow of information at extremely high speeds. However, the negative aspect of this is that those very young adolescents and adolescents have access to user-generated content that most of the time tends to misinform about feminism or gender, causing unhealthy intra- and inter-gender relationships.
The context provided above shows the relevance of implementing strategies that promote equitable relations, challenge social norms, prevent violence, teach empathy, and establish relations of mutual respect among youth.
GENDES –founded in 2008– is a Mexico City-based organisation that fights for gender equality and the elimination of violence against women. Much of its work has been done on addressing the link between men’s gender beliefs that later translates into violent acts that often lead to fighting between young couples, domestic violence, or even femicide. Notably, the organisation’s attention has been on the role men play in their relationships and how they can transform their perceptions of themselves and women through self-reflection and peer support. The organisation is recognized as a national leader on gender-based violence prevention and has worked with various government entities in developing prevention and care models. In 2018, it worked with Uber Mexico to train male drivers to engage with female clients respectfully. Also, understanding that it cannot say singlehandedly prevent gender-based violence and gender inequality, GENDES encourages other organisations to replicate its work. In 2011, it developed an international network of 17 groups from Mexico, the United States, Panama, and Uruguay that implement its CECEVIM model. GENDES also publishes all its methodologies on its website, where they can be downloaded free of charge. In addition to its experience working with adults, GENDES also works with young people on gender equality. To challenge traditional gender norms and foster gender-equitable attitudes and practices while their cognitive development is still underway, and while they are still in the process of developing their gender identity. Lastly, two of GENDES’ three co-founders still work for the organisation: Mauro Antonio Vargas Urias, as Executive Director, and Ricardo Ayllon Gonzalez, as the Head of Methodology, who are complemented by GENDES´s experienced staff in training, research and evaluation, and fundraising.
EMpower’s fourth grant to Gendes, AC. will support 250 youth between 10 and 14 years old (50% female, 50%male) to increase and maintain learnings of sexual and reproductive rights, promote gender equality, prevent gender-based violence, unwanted teenage pregnancies and increase the development of life skills. In addition, it will also contribute to modify the “Escuela de Buentrato” model by including a crosscutting perspective on mental health in all the work; too, it will help increase teachers and parents’ knowledge on gender equality. Meanwhile, the grant will allow Gendes to build its capacity on methodologies that can improve virtual learning experiences.
Primary Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Funded Since: 2018
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