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The Women of Ciudad Juarez

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The Women of Ciudad Juarez

Woman of Juarez are hardly ever acknowledge in Mexico and in the United States. No one takes the time to acknowledge their work, when they are the women who work, in order to satisfy the needs of people in the United States. There have been several factors that have served as a contribution to the violence occurring against the woman in Ciudad Juarez. Some blame the drug cartels, some blame the military, some blame the economy, some blame serial killers, but nobody truly understands the violence. The question to these murders has been raised by several individuals, and it is to argue that it is the fault of globalization and industrialization. The contribution of the two nations and its ideas of Globalization have allowed the incidents of disappearances of more women in Ciudad Juarez. Therefore the murders of Ciudad Juarez are not causality, but an issue involving the government both of the United States and Mexico. For decades it has been noted that women are treated unequally and in an unjust matter, but today’s incidents in Juarez have escalated to a higher level of injustice. Bowden says “The violence is increasing day by day, and the murderers, over and over again, turn out to be members of the Mexican Army, who are clearly working with the cartels. When is it not the army carrying out murder, it is gangs, with army and even police support” (Bowden). It is clearly stated that in one way or the other theirs a member of society involve in the crimes, but indeed it is to blame the Mexican government, since they have becomes accomplices of the crime. It could be a possibility that they can stop it and solve the problem, but due to the corruption that exist they have join the violent movement. Furthermore, research studies, such as Rafael Luevano’s say that, “In Northern Mexico, more than 250 women have disappeared and at least 500 women have been killed. Out of all the women killed, the age range that is targeted is between the ages of ten and thirty. Women are kidnapped, tortured, raped, and murdered. In many cases, their bodies are mutilated or dumped in the desert slums on Juarez's outskirts” (Luevano 68). Additional research has stated that “Beginning 2006, violence in Juarez has skyrocketed. Over 2500 people were murdered in 2008” (Bowden). Statistics presented by Amnesty International have shown that, “as of 2006 more than 400 bodies have been recovered, with hundreds still missing” (Rodriguez). “The number of missing women given in the November 2008 National Human Rights Commission report was 4,587” (Acosta 1). The cause for the violence against woman has not yet been determined but there is evidence showing that women working in factories run a higher risk of been attacked. According to Julia Fragoso, and her studies on Femicide, “The young women, who show a greater risk and vulnerability to be attacked, are those who work in the maquiladora industry” (Fragoso). This means that a high percentage of the woman who work in these industries run a risk of never seen their families again. The question is how are they at risk? And the answer is, maquiladoras operate until late hours, therefore women leave work late. Julia Says, “In addition to being women, they are migrants; they walk for long distances and at late hours of the night” (Fragoso). They have no other option than to work in these places, and risk their lives, since the maquiladora is the only source of income. In the book, The Daughters of Juarez, by Teresa Rodriguez, women share their stories and say, “Getting a job on one of the hundreds of assembly lines meant a chance at a better life for the impoverished and often untrained laborers flooding into the Juárez area from throughout the region. Juárez was one of the few places in Mexico that was experiencing a growth in the job market” (Rodriguez). With this in mind, it is possible to appreciate and understand the incentives these women possess to migrate to Ciudad Juarez. Though they dream of succeed they end up been victims of the violent attacks. The Problem though, is not who is killing, but the incentives and causes of the deaths. “When one speaks of the killing of women, the lives and actions of the victims are described, but not those of the killers. The violence cannot be understood without taking into account the dominant class behind the organization protecting its interests and privileges through a political system permeated in violence” (Fragoso). This means that those who possess the power are behind this problem. Though it is not a precise response to the killings, it is useful to understand how the dominant class whether in Mexico or the United states, continues to subordinate the lower class. Additionally, as a consequence of legislations that have been passed, the problem of homicide against Woman of Ciudad Juarez has increased to a higher level. Arguably, since the introduction and passage of North America Fee Trade Agreement (NAFTA), more women have continued to disappear. Arguably, the passage of NAFTA pushed the problem to a new level, since NAFTA has allowed free trade among the United States, Mexico and Canada. According to Rafael Luevano and his research study, “At its simplest, this agreement means that U.S. companies can produce goods south of their border, taking advantage of minimal taxes and abundant cheap labor” (Luevano 71). It is significant to understand the contribution of NAFTA and its call for industrializing in Mexico, because its settlement, serves as a contribution to enacting the assembly plants, “maquiladoras” in Juarez for cheap labor. According to Rafael Luevano, “There has been approximately three hundred foreign owned factories established in Juarez at this time, each employing thousands of workers” (Luevano 71). Arguably, it means that more and more factories are beginning to open, calling for the migration of more women in Juarez. As a cause of this, more women run the risk of never seen their families again, since a high percentage of them have to work the night shifts. With the passage of NAFTA, it is possible to argue that the United States has highly benefited from it, more than the other two nations. How? Well the United States is paying this women a low wage, to work, and produce, while they obtain and sale the products for higher prices in the United States. It is more beneficial for them to employ worker in Mexico, since cheap labor leaves them, higher profits. Rafael Luevano says, “NAFTA has been described as a "win-win" agreement. United States corporations benefit handsomely and the U.S. population gets to enjoy everything from zippy computers to sexy low-rise jeans priced lower than those made in the U.S.A.” (Luevano 71). In addition to the benefits it produces, the government of the United States has recognized the profitable effect of NAFTA. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, “NAFTA created the world's largest free trade area, which now links 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services” (NAFTA). It is important to understand the contribution the United States has had in the violence against women in Juarez. It is not visible or easy to understand, but once the situation is deeply study, it’s perceptible to see the connection between the attempts to industrialize in Mexico, and seek for profits, while exploiting and been accomplices of the violence against the Women of Juarez. One must not go on without realizing that the ideologies of industries and free trade have had a major impact in the history of homicide against women in Mexico. Stop to think that it could be your daughter, or sister who is at risk, with such legislations, that make Femicide acceptable in society. Today is in Mexico, tomorrow it might be here.
Works Cited
Acosta, Mariclaire. «Center for Latin American Studies: The woman of Ciudad Juarez.» 01 de 05 de 2005. E-Scholarship University of California. Document. 10 de 10 de 2012. .

Bowden, Charles. Murder city : Ciudad Juárez and the global economy's new killing fields. New York: Nation Books, 2010.

Fragoso, Julia Monárrez. “Serial Sexual Femicide In Ciudad Juárez: 1993-2001.” Debate

Femenista 13th Edition. Vol. 25. (April 2002): 279-305.


Luevano, Rafael. "A Living Call: The Theological Challenge of the Juárez-Chihuahua Femicides." Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion Vol. 24, No. 2 (Fall 2008): 67-76.


"North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)." Office of the United States Trade Representative. Executive Office of The President, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

Rodriguez, Teresa y Diane Montane. The Daughters of Juarez. London: Simon & Schuster, 2007.

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