Have you ever heard of femicide? This is the murder of women, because they are women. Femicide is a major social problem in Mexico, along with other forms of violence against women. During this program, feminist voices share their ideas about the causes of femicide and violence against women in Mexico. They ask what is needed to change the culture of violence. We do this with journalist Pedro Miguel and the band Snowapple. The band has just returned from a tour through Mexico where they were trying to draw attention to the problem through their music.
The term ‘femicide’ gained prominence through the South African feminist Diana Russell. She coined the word in 1976 to define extreme violence against women. The term received a lot of international attention after hundreds of young women were murdered in the Mexican city of Juárez. The United Nations and various human rights organizations have criticized local and national authorities in Mexico for doing too little to try and stop the killings and violence against women.
How can you change a culture of violence against women? What responsibility does the government have and what does society itself need to do? What inspirational examples of women and men trying to tackle the problem are there in Mexico? And what is the power of music in changing society? We discuss these issues with, among others, journalist Pedro Miguel, feminists Tamara Pels-Idrobo Tapia and Myrna de la Peña, and the band Snowapple. Snowapple will play various songs, including their new single La llorona – Ser mujer, the text for which was written by Pedro. For the clip, they worked together with the Mexican artist and filmmaker Adriana Ronquillo.
At the end of the program, we collectively raise a glass of Mezcal to the power of women and men all over the world who stand up for gender equality.
About the speakers
• Norma Andrade is one of the founding members of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa A.C., a Mexican non-profit association of mothers whose daughters have been victims of female homicides in Ciudad Juárez. Norma's daughter, Lilia Alejandra García Andrade, disappeared on February 14, 2001. On February 21, Lilia Alejandra's body was found wrapped in a blanket. On her body were signs of physical and sexual assault. There have been two attacks on Norma, because of her work on femicide. Following the second attack on Norma's life, a petition was started on Twitter requesting that Mexican President Felipe Calderon give Norma the protection she needs and deserves.
• Tamara Pels-Idrobo Tapia is a passionate Latin American feminist with more than 15 years of experience in social justice and the area of human rights for girls, women and trans people. Since 2010, Tamara has been Mama Cash’s Programme Associate for Latin America and the Caribbean, where she has been working and collaborating with feminist activists with the conviction that change is possible and it begins within people’s power to transform their own realities. Tamara believes in feminism as a means to transform societies into a diverse, safe, just, peaceful, pleasurable, equal and sustainable world. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, and a master’s degree in social science with a focus on sexuality, gender, and culture from the University of Amsterdam.
• Myrna de la Peña was born and raised in South-East Mexico. She has lived for several years in The Hague, and has recently graduated in European Studies. Myrna describes herself as an intersectional feminist with a special interest in politics. She is interested in exploring the link between Mexican history and the current violence against women. She believes that the way forward is to start a national conversation, where stereotypes and traditional practices are questioned and critically analysed
.• Moderator is the Mexican social-anthropologist Cesar E. Merlín Escorza. He has lived in the Netherlands since 2017, and is studying for a Master in Anthropology and Development Studies at Radboud University (Nijmegen).
• Snowapple is a group of multi-instrumentalists and singers from Amsterdam and Mexico. The playing songs that they describe as pop/folk/opera/avant-garde-cumbia. The group is currently touring the US, Mexico and Europe and is working on their fourth studio album. Their music has been often played on BBC Radio, and they have made several appearances on international television.