Mexico, Mexico City— Despite an unrelenting and deadly wave of violence against women, Mexico’s government has assigned more resources to the armed forces than the reduction of gender violence.
According to the feminist organization Intersecta, the billions of dollars spent on military overhead and wages far exceed the needs of agencies and organizations dedicated to addressing gender violence in Mexico.
A Nationwide Emergency
The National Survey on the Dynamics of Relationships in Households (ENDIREH 2021), published earlier this year, exposed the level of violence to which women in Mexico are currently subjected.
According to the survey, more than 70% of Mexico’s 50.5 million women and girls over 15 have suffered violence at least once in their lifetime.
The study additionally found that psychological violence is the most prevalent in women’s lives, reported in 51.6% of the cases, followed by sexual violence in 49.7%, and physical violence in 34.7%.
According to the Intersecta report, while the federal government has the resources to address violence against women, the current administration has centered public resources on the military.
The Military budget
The breakdown of military resources reveals that by 2021, out of 19 ministries, the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) spent more than 14 of them, while the Navy (SEMAR) surpassed the spending of 10 ministries.
Compared to non-sectorized agencies dedicated to social justice and health care, military spending is even more overwhelming.
One example is the federal agency dedicated to eradicating violence against women, Inmujeres, whose budget for 2021 amounted to USD 37 million.
SEMAR’s budget was 50 times larger, while SEDENA’s budget was 183 times that of Inmujeres.
As the report explains, with the budget and resources of SEDENA, the government could finance 1,000 agencies to combat violence against women.
Similarly, another case in need of infrastructure and resources is domestic violence which, according to some studies, affects four out of 10 women in Mexico.
As of October 2022, Mexican authorities reported 230,030 cases of domestic violence, 97% of which have yet to be prosecuted.
The “Support Program for specialized shelters for women victims of gender violence and their children” received USD $21 million last year. The armed forces spent USD $23 million on foreign travel alone.
Furthermore, shelters for female victims of violence and their children have reported that they have not received the budget assigned for these programs.
In some cases, officials have worked without being paid.
According to estimates of the National Commission for the Search for Persons (CNB), an agency dedicated to finding victims of forced disappearance, there are almost 95,000 missing persons in the country, of which one in four are women.
In 2021, CNB was granted USD $31 million, the same amount that SEDENA spent on purchasing raw materials like “leather, fur, plastic and plastic products.”
Between January and October, Mexico has suffered the murder of 3,155 women, of whom 792 were the victim of femicides.