Sociedad Mexicana Pro Derechos de la MujerMexico City, Mexico
Published November 18, 2012
Empowering indigenous women in Mexico
Sociedad Mexicana Pro Derechos de la Mujer (Mexican Society for Women's Rights, or Semillas, "Seeds") promotes the rights of Mexican women – with a focus on the reproductive rights and health of rural indigenous women – through leadership development, advocacy, and grantmaking.
Indigenous women in Mexico often have little control over their reproductive lives, living in patriarchal communities with scant access to needed health services. Women in the impoverished southern states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Chiapas have among the country's worst reproductive and sexual health indicators. Semillas is working to change that by training and supporting a cadre of indigenous women to become outspoken leaders and educators in their communities and on national and international levels. One of these young leaders, from Chiapas, developed a safe pregnancy planning program that was included in 2008 federal policy and also testified before Congress about the need for increased maternal health services. Thanks to Semillas's work, these indigenous women have a voice in the development of federal policies that affect them. Semillas aims to launch similar programs in other hard-hit states. Along with its focus on reproductive health, the organization more broadly promotes women's rights and women's economic autonomy, including advocacy for labor rights and property rights in indigenous communities.
The Sociedad Mexicana Pro Derechos de la Mujer will use its $750,000 award to support its endowment and to purchase permanent office space in Mexico City, as an investment and a venue for large gatherings and use by partner organizations.
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