“[Before the Zapatista uprising] men and women were abused by the big landowners. Women were not respected, we were ignored. They told us that only men had rights. Even our fathers told us that we were worthless.”
(Zapatista woman speaking at the First Gathering of Zapatista Women with the Women of the World, January 1st 2008).
Since its beginnings in the 1980’s, the Zapatista movement has worked to improve the lives, and to respect the rights, of indigenous women in Chiapas, Mexico.
Zapatista women wrote their Revolutionary Women’s Law in 1993 to guarantee women the right to a fair wage, to choose their partner, to decide the number of children they want to have, to healthcare, to education, to participate in community affairs, and to hold political office.
Over the years, Zapatista women have been in the forefront of resistance to aggressions against their communities; they have taken part in all aspects of political and community organizing. They’ve connected with women around the world by organizing various international gatherings. Women have created cooperatives, where artisan products are sold for a fairer price, and the women work in better conditions for better wages.
Today Zapatista women are leaders of both traditional and non-traditional activities within their communities. Women sustain the home by preparing food and care for children. Women also teach in community-controlled schools, run Zapatista healthcare centers, hold office in the Zapatista governments, work on their farms, and women make their own videos and radio shows.
Schools for Chiapas supports Zapatista women through The Market of the Others our online store where you can purchase artisan goods produced by women’s cooperatives. Or you can support women’s empowerment in Chiapas through Gifts of Change.