30 Nov 2023

Declaration: 7º Leadership Conference for Rural & Indigenous Women

Women Holding Networks, the Other Rural Feminism.

We, representatives of the indigenous peoples, communities, and social organizations of the Otomí-Tepehua-Nahua Region in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, gathered at the 7th Regional Meeting of Native and Rural Women of the Otomí-Tepehua-Nahua Region in the municipality of Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo; after a day of collaborative work with indigenous sisters and brothers from Acaxochitlán, Tenango de Doria, San Bartolo Tutotepec, Huehuetla, El Cardonal, Pachuca, Estado de México, Oaxaca, Puebla, as well as with human rights advocates, and foreign volunteers from the countries of Brazil, the United States, Guatemala, Colombia, within the framework of the Red Sierra Madre and Tec para Todos programs, hereby state the following:

Considering that:

Women play a fundamental role in families, contributing as citizens, wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. This is why the Constitution and the Law of the National Institute for Women seek to:

«Promote among the three branches of the Union and society, actions aimed at improving the social condition of the female population and the eradication of all forms of discrimination against women, in the areas of social, economic, political, and cultural life.»

Therefore, women have the right to: A dignified life. Be protected by governments and their laws. Recognition of our work, both at home and outside. Participate actively with a voice and vote, and be heard in assemblies. Access public resources for productive projects. Receive health, education, and training services. Play significant roles in political or administrative positions within our communities. Decide on the management of the natural resources of our region. Live with dignity according to the customs and traditions of our community. Live free from any form of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse.

In this beautiful municipality of Acaxochitlán:

We are the other feminism, rural feminism, born «daily» from the rural and indigenous community, growing in resistance and out of the need to address our issues with cultural relevance, transmitted intergenerationally due to its viability.

We affirm that our artisanal work should be recognized through fair prices, promoting cultural and community development, as well as sustaining our households.

We emphasize our full right to organize in pursuit of the balance of life, access to technology, and participation in meetings, assemblies, and activities within our communities as citizens contributing to local development.

We acknowledge that our artisanal work, involving time, effort, and sacrifices, has not received the deserved recognition. As indigenous peoples, we face challenges such as racism and the intervention of intermediaries. In highly marginalized areas, where machismo persists, our full participation and organization, as well as the complete exercise of our rights, are limited.

We understand that these acts prevent us from freely disposing of our time and means of subsistence, free access to our riches and natural resources, and most importantly, to human development that reinforces our abilities; Therefore, they hinder our development in different areas: political, cultural, social, and economic.

We observe that administrative processes to legalize our work as cooperatives contain steps that are inaccessible and incomprehensible for women and organizations. It is absurd and unfair for the State to claim to promote women’s entrepreneurship while simultaneously establishing such complicated processes to achieve it.

We recognize that we are guardians of oral, textile, agricultural, and livestock traditions and practices that help establish environmental balance in the territories where we plant and grow.

We express our concern for the health of Mother Earth and stand in solidarity with peoples lacking access to clean and sufficient land, water, soil, and air because without these, food production and natural beauty are compromised, and with it, everything we call life.

We express deep concern about acts of violence and femicides in the country and the region, requesting actions to safeguard our physical and emotional integrity.

We are aware that there are rights recognized in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), constituting a legal defense tool that promotes the eradication of discrimination and inequality, aiming for equity and full participation in the public sphere, and respect for the political rights of indigenous and rural women in the country and the state of Hidalgo.

Therefore, we declare:

We express our recognition to the organizers for contributing to the opening of this space for coexistence, reflection, and meeting with the members of the four municipal cooperatives of the Otomí-Tepehua-Nahua Region, and the organizations and collectives from other regions of Hidalgo and the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, who today weave and sustain this network of work among women, to the directors and heads of the different areas in the municipal governments, to the team of PSYDEH A.C. (Psychology and Human Rights), as well as individuals from other countries around the world.

We emphatically state that we are capable and free to make our own decisions, to express ourselves. We do not need intermediaries to take advantage of our needs and sell our items at much higher prices, disregarding the effort, knowledge, time, feelings, and sacrifices invested in each piece.

We are determined to fight against stereotypes and paradigms that have kept us in the shadows. We, as women involved in organizational processes, do not come from academia; our concerns and motivations differ from those of urban activism. Not only that, but we are not affected by the same issues. We are women who hold the responsibility to preserve the dignity of living in our territories according to our culture.

We raise our voice for our sisters who have been violated, who have been deprived of life by the current patriarchal system and simply for being women; for those who have overcome adversities and have come together to strengthen others.

We recall that the State owes a pending debt to Mexican mothers and families of 81,487 missing persons. This year, we add the name of Emiliano López Pedro, son and brother of the Yu Danxu Mpefi Di Toi cooperative members.

We express gratitude to defenders of indigenous rights, social activists, and organizations for their longstanding support. As indigenous representatives, we commit to work for progress with dignity and respect. We urge everyone present to follow up on this Declaration of Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo, Mexico 2023.

We welcome indigenous colleagues from Hidalgo, Mexico, and other American countries to join our movement for rights. While appreciating municipal government support, we urge translating it into tangible actions, not just speeches. Adequate budget allocation for affirmative actions in municipal collectives is crucial, promoting organization, collaborative work, and women’s empowerment.

Given in the municipality of Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo, Mexico, on the seventeenth day of November, 2023.