Feminism: The Government of Mexico allocates 89% of the budget for women to López Obrador’s priority programs

Feminist collectives paint the names of murdered women on the fence in front of the National Palace in March.
Feminist collectives paint the names of murdered women on the fence in front of the National Palace in March.seila montes

The Government of Mexico will allocate 3.3% of the total Budget for 2022 to reduce gender inequality between men and women. More than 232,000 million pesos (11,193 million dollars), which represents 75% more than the departure of a year ago. However, almost 90% of this amount will go to the priority programs of the Administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, while the programs that serve victims of violence or are in charge of gender alerts in the States will see their budget or will have negligible increases below what inflation has grown.

While the Government doubles the resources for Young People Building the Future, the Benito Juárez Scholarships for young people, Sembrando Vida or the Pension Program for the elderly, specialists in the fight against gender violence and members of the feminist movement look with suspicion that they feed the flagship programs of the Fourth Transformation with the budget earmarked for equality, non-discrimination and eradication of violence, when it is questionable whether they actually fulfill that purpose. “It is not very clear how [los programas prioritarios] They contribute to closing the inequality gap that is what Annex 13 was created for in the budgets. For example, it is not clear how the pension fund is going to combat the gender gap, when women are not even given more pensions because they represent 52% of the population ”, points out Andrea Larios, researcher of the Tax Justice program of the organization Fundar. Since 2008, the feminist movement in the country has legislatively promoted the creation of a budget item, known as Annex 13 of the General Budget, to ensure each year that a part of the public money was destined to equality programs and combating violence against women.

However, year after year the accounts turn out worse. As much as governments try to pretend that more and more is being devoted to the issue, the reality is that the biggest cuts in Annex 13 are taken by programs that should be a priority. “Governments have pretended to invest in programs and policies in favor of women, but in reality it has not been the case. We once again have that simulation policy that has done so much damage to Mexican women, ”says journalist and sociologist Lucía Lagunes.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Ministry of Welfare is the one with the most allocation of resources with 139,945 million pesos; followed by the Ministry of Public Education and Agriculture with 54,829 million pesos and 11,296 million, respectively. Of the total welfare budget, 91% of the resources were allocated to the pension program. The Support Program for the Instances of Women in the States (PAIMEF) had an increase of 0.04%, while the Support Program for the Welfare of the Children of Working Mothers, experienced a decrease of 3.6%, compared to the last year. The Sexual and Reproductive Health Program and the Strengthening of Substantive Equality between Women and Men increased 0.1% by 3%.

“The Government’s approach is that if there are female recipients in the program, it already has a gender perspective, and this is not the case,” argues Matilde Pérez from the Program for Accountability and Combating Corruption in Fundar. According to the researchers, the law only obliges the agencies to justify how much budget they deliver for the Equality item, but not what it was for and what its impacts were. That is why in Annex 13 there are such disparate headings as: Promotion and defense of the interests of Mexico in the multilateral sphere, Fertilizers, Acquisition of national milk O Vaccination program.

Femicidal violence in Mexico is growing so fast that little progress in the budget and cuts during the pandemic have prevented a real brake on this problem that is bleeding the country. “It seems to us that the resources are not only insufficient in the face of this context of violence, but that they are not being progressive, they have decreased”, emphasizes Matilde Pérez. “The budget for equality throughout the State is very little for the problems of sexist violence that Mexico has,” adds Andrea Larios.

With 11 murdered every day, the consequences of those cuts translate into the lives of women and girls. Surpassed by the increase in calls for help during the pandemic – 32% in 2020, according to official data – the organizations urge the Government not to ostracize them. “Violence against women in our country was already a pandemic before the pandemic caused by the covid. Femicides should be at the center and the resources reflect the government’s interest in solving a problem of this dimension, ”says Marilú Rasso, executive director of the Espacio Mujeres shelter for a Life Free of Violence, in Mexico City.

In 2022 the network of shelters for women will receive 420 million pesos (20 million dollars), 0.04% more than in 2021. This amount only represents 0.3% of the total budget of the Ministry of Welfare. “If the increase in the allocation is analyzed in detail, it is not significant because the number of shelters among which the amount will be distributed has increased,” explains the director who values ​​the effort on the part of the Government to increase the budget a little for shelters. However, they will have to seek additional resources from private initiative. Otherwise they will have to close. “We must find a way to get the resource because we are not going to stop serving women who require professional help,” he says.

In a disaggregated analysis, the cuts continue in key actions against sexist violence. For example, in the program to Promote care and prevention of violence against women, known as program E015, run by the Ministry of the Interior (Segob) and the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence Against Women ( Conavim) cut 1.5% from the 2021 budget. Actions to implement gender alerts in the country have also been cut by 3.6%, despite the fact that 22 out of 32 States have activated this mechanism against violence, as entities especially dangerous for the safety and integrity of women. In addition to the above, the Program for the construction and equipping of the Justice Centers for Women (CEJUM) also suffered a 3.6% cut from 126 million pesos to 122 million and the Program for the care and prevention of violence 0.3%.

Apart from the cuts, the National Institute of Women, the entity responsible for promoting and guaranteeing the mainstreaming of the gender perspective in the Mexican Government, has a small increase in its amounts, although it is still below the budget that it had at the beginning of the six-year term. By 2022 InMu Mujeres will have 873 million pesos, 1.4% more than in 2021. Its two programs: Strengthening Equality and Mainstreaming in 2020 suffered a heavy blow after the presidential decree that forced public agencies to cut 75 % of your budget. Of the 805 million approved amount, InMujeres was only able to exercise 68% of the budget, the rest was frozen by the Ministry of Finance, which represented a setback in public equality policies.

In 2020, the CEDW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) Committee recommended that the Mexican State guarantee sufficient public resources to develop public policies that guarantee substantive equality in the country. The alarms of organizations, activists and members of the feminist movement go off again after the year of cuts in the pandemic. “Keeping the budget for equality relegated to a tiny position is the misogynistic reflection of a government that does not end up assuming that women are a fundamental piece of Mexico’s development,” says Lucía Lagunes. And it sentence: “When women achieve greater equality and better living conditions, our environment improves because we are usually a fundamental piece in society to reverse poverty and inequality.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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