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Local Campaign Takes Aim at Empowering Women

Albañil

Carnicera

Policía

Por Jesús Aguado

Although it is celebrated all over the world, the origins of International Women’s Day are unclear.

According to the United Nations website, International Women’s Day began in 1909 as a way to commemorate a New York female garment workers’ strike the previous year that involved 15,000 workers. Some academics, however, assert that this origin of the holiday is a myth.

Nevertheless, the holiday is recognized in various countries as a public one, and worldwide by millions as an important day recognizing the contributions of women and the need to establish their equal rights.

In San Miguel de Allende, the San Miguel Institute for Women recently launched the campaign Me Reconozco Mujer (I Acknowledge Myself as a Woman), aimed as instilling in women the idea of their power and the importance of their role in the world. This year’s campaign is recognizing women who have gone beyond gender paradigms and are working in traditionally exclusively male professions.

In the three stories that follow below, we present examples of these Sanmiguelense women, who are demonstrating that they (and other women) can do the same work as men and be paid the same.

In honor of the holiday, we asked these women to tell their stories themselves, in their own voices.

Brenda Sabina Yáñez López: Bricklayer

I am a mother of three. I consider myself a hardworking woman who fights every day to improve her life. For the last 10 years, I have been working on construction. I am a bricklayer and proud of it. I do not minimize my work, because I believe everything is in our minds, and I truly do not believe in the division of employment for men and women.

Nowadays there is still discrimination against women, and for that reason, people sometimes do not trust in my work. I just ask for an opportunity to show my capabilities. I know that, like me, there are many women out there working as bricklayers, and that makes me feel proud of what I do.

María Vianney Chávez Arellano: Police Officer

I have been working as a police officer the last four years and I acknowledge myself a hardworking woman. Currently I am the only woman riding a motorcycle for San Miguel’s Secretariat of Public Safety. I encourage other women to get enrolled; the doors are open.

Since I was a little girl, I always dreamed of being a police officer, and one day I saw the call to enroll. I applied, and after several tests and training courses, I was accepted.

I have to say—though this does not make it impossible—as a woman, it is a bit more complicated to ride a motorcycle since it weighs 100 kilos. We are exposed to risky situations, and the shifts are not always accessible. However, taking care of Sanmiguelenses is worth it.

My message for women is: “We can achieve whatever we have in mind. We are capable of going beyond and always supporting each other.”

Patricia Ramírez Bocanegra: Butcher

I am 42 years old, a mother of four, and responsible for a carnicería since 2002. My day begins at 6am because I have to play the role of mother, housewife, driver, and manager of the carnicería. But above all those occupations, I am a woman.

My work consists of preparing fresh meat that my clients request. It is a seven-day-a-week job, and I have no days off, but I love what I do, and that makes it easier. I feel proud of being a Sanmiguelense, I love my work, and I try my best.

Director of the San Miguel Institute for Women Cynthia Sifuentes told Atención that the organization will maintain the Me Reconozco Mujer campaign for a month. The campaign will close with a lecture by actress and radio announcer Martha Debayle. She will speak about her rise, fall and re-emergence as a woman in the business world. The event will be held at La Casona on April 12 at 5pm. Admission is free.

 

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