Tag Archive for Mexico

Toys to promote diversity


Although 25 million of Mexican considered themselves as part of indigenous groups, a group of educational researchers noticed that kids could not find toys or games in any of the 68 indigenous languages spoken in Mexico by more than 7 million of people. As stated by the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INE) the number of indigenous languages speakers has fallen from 16% of the population in 1930 to barely 6% today.

In an article published on July 27th, the Spanish journal El País highlighted a research project developed in Mexico aimed to teach Mexican kids indigenous languages.

The project developed by a research group of the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE) alongside the Higher Center of Social Anthropology (CIESAS) is aimed to promote among kids the languages spoken by their parents and grandparents. A couple of dolls, “Paquita” and “Paquito”, have been designed wearing indigenous clothing as a model of social identification for minors, says Aurelio López, research at the INAOE. Paquitos are recommended for children aged between 2 and 4 years old including various types of interactive games. The doll can speak, saying the parts of the body in the specific language when the child presses it.
The project, entitled “Development of tangible educational and pedagogical robots for the learning and revaluation of indigenous languages” is being tested by the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) as part of Mexico’s recent efforts to promote endangered languages.
An educational policy that promotes pluralism, diversity and mutual understanding is part of the Shared Societies Commitments to ensure an education system that offers equal opportunity and educates children to understand and respect others. In addition to this, the bilingualism and the promotion of indigenous languages also “endow children with other abilities in their reasoning”, emphasizes Lopez.
Watch a video in Spanish with additional information about this initiative:

Empowering Indigenous Women of Mexico


In Oaxaca, Mexico an Indigenous woman has been paving the way for women participation in local and national governance for a few years now.

Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza launched a national-level effort to reform indigenous practices with regard to women’s rights and freedoms as a response to ancient indigenous rules usos y costumbres which do not allow women participation in politics. Until very recently, indigenous women of Oaxaca and other regions of Southern Mexico did not have a right to vote and were not considered citizens. Norma Reyes Teran, director of the Women Institute in Oaxaca, says that ‘in at least 80 of the 570 rural localities, women have no political rights. In some areas they do not even exist in the official registry of citizens’.

Regardless of these ancient rules of the community, Eufrozina Cruz Mendoza decided that it was time for women to have a voice and she run for mayor in her village of Santa Maria Quiegolani. Her ambition was met with mixed responses. On the one hand, local men and women voted for her (and some even claimed she won), on the other hand she was ridiculed and local authorities nullified all ballots cast for Cruz Mendoza, because she is a woman.

Cruz used this defeat to highlight gender inequalities in Mexico and the non-existence of rights of indigenous women. The highlight of her fight was a constitutional amendment of Article 25, which established a legally enforceable mechanism for the full involvement of women in elections and the exercise of their right to vote and be voted for on equal footing with that of men.

To change male perception of women and women’s perception of themselves, Cruz Mendoza founded QUIEGO (Queremos unir, integrando por la equidad y género, a Oaxaca), a non for profit organization which promotes gender equality in Oaxaca. QUIEGO has since organized several successful forums on the rights and freedoms of indigenous women.

When you change a woman, you change a family, then a town and step by step we can change the entire country

Eufrozina Cruz Mendoza

In 2010 Cruz Mendoza was nominated as a candidate for deputy of the local congress for  Partido Acción Nacional PAN (National Action Party) and after they won the elections, Cruz Mendoza was elected to the office of the local congress and became the first indigenous woman in Oaxacan politics.

We will be discussing this among other issues focused on Women at the 2012 Club de Madrid Annual Conference: “Harnessing 21st Century Solutions: A Focus on Women





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