The Stream

Why is femicide in Mexico on the rise?

On Tuesday, May 3 at 19:30 GMT:
The widely-reported discovery of a dead woman in northern Mexico has shocked people across the country and highlighted an ever-worsening national femicide crisis.

Debanhi Susana Escobar Bazaldúa, an 18-year-old law student, was laid to rest on April 23, two days after police found her body in a roadside hotel’s water tank in Monterrey, the largest city in the state of Nuevo Leon. Investigations into her death are continuing.

Meanwhile in Monterrey, several other women are still missing. They are among more than 24,000 women in Mexico currently reported to have disappeared. The United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances says recently there has been “a notable increase” in the number of missing women and girls in the country, and that victims and authorities have “reported disappearances for the purpose of trafficking and sexual exploitation.” Women’s rights advocates point out that 1,004 cases of femicide – when a woman is murdered due to her gender – were officially recorded in 2021, a 2.7% rise on the previous year’s toll.

In 2020 women’s groups led a wave of popular protest, calling for concerted and immediate action by authorities to better protect women and bring justice to those murdered and missing. But the femicide crisis is only deepening. The executive director of Amnesty International in Mexico points out that eleven women are killed in Mexico every day, and that federal and state authorities are not doing enough to find women who are missing.

Non-governmental organisations and activists say that a male-dominated culture of impunity is driving both femicides and the high rate of disappearances of women. And some women’s advocates are scathing about the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, saying his administration is not doing enough to tackle the rise in violence against women in Mexico. The president himself was widely criticised for saying “people shouldn’t worry” in the wake of the discovery of Escobar’s body, and that such cases “happen everywhere”.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the rise in cases of femicide in Mexico and what’s needed to tackle and prevent gender-based violence.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Edith Olivares Ferreto, @AIMexico
Executive Director, Amnesty International Mexico

Estefania Vela Barba, @samnbk
Executive Director, Intersecta

Chantal Flores, @chantal_f