Indigenous women´s political participation in Mexico: Why legislation backfires

By Holly Worthen

Worthen photo

The low numbers of indigenous women elected to municipal governments in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico are notable.  Only around 11 percent of predominately indigenous villages have a woman serving as an official municipal authority. However, attempts over the last decade by legislators, judges, and women´s rights advocates to push women into local politics have been met with limited success.  When the government of the state of Oaxaca mandated that indigenous women serve on town councils in order to promote gender equity in local politics, many women rejected the initiative.  Why would these women not embrace the chance to participate in local governing bodies that have traditionally been closed to them? While doing research in a rural indigenous village in the mountains of Oaxaca, I found that this rejection is not because these women don´t care about local politics or don´t want to be involved.  Rather, it is because the terms of political participation are stacked against them. Continue reading “Indigenous women´s political participation in Mexico: Why legislation backfires”