Life for Zapatista Women in S. Mexico

This video shows the daily life of rural women.


The Zapatistas in southern Mexico succeeded in educating rural peasants and believe in equality for women, as discussed in an online video We Are Equal: Zapatista Women Speak (2004).[i] A woman reports, “We have awakened now; we know that we can do whatever we want in life, because we have rights too.” Women explain that since 1994 (the beginning of the Zapatista revolution) now they can go out and participate as women, while before women couldn’t leave the house and it was acceptable for a husband to beat his wife. Now, there is real justice for anybody and men “don’t make fun of us.” Women can leave the house and now they don’t say anything; women can participate in the Zapatista army and work within the community. The video plays a song about women’s rights sung by a man, singing about respecting women, and a radio show relays the same message.

In contrast, the women said their grandparents were peons, their eyes were closed in ignorance, but now women have woken up to their rights. They were treated like slaves for a long time. They made all their own food and everything else they needed. They worked very hard for the landowner, believing that he was like a god and called him father. They did all the work for his wife too, with no such thing as resting on Sundays—which is still true. They still haven’t achieved what they want, living almost the same way without money or good houses. Women can barely read and write and the men do not help with women’s work. They said they wake up at 3 am, sweep, make coffee, then the men work in the fields. Women grind the corn and make food for the children, and go cut firewood and carry heavy loads on their backs. It’s like having two or three jobs in the same day with little sleep. Women know they rights, and men know it as well.




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