Artisan championing Mayan women's rights to speak March 10 | UToledo News

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Artisan championing Mayan women’s rights to speak March 10

Rosalinda Santiz-Diaz, an indigenous artisan who is working to establish equality for women in Chiapas, Mexico, will be the keynote speaker for Women’s History Month at The University of Toledo.

Santiz-Diaz

Santiz-Diaz

She will discuss “Walking in Women’s Land: Indigenous Women’s Rights in Chiapas, Mexico” Monday, March 10, at 3:30 p.m. in Student Union Room 2592.

A gifted weaver, Santiz-Diaz is president of the Center for Women’s Training and Development at K’inal Antzetik (Land of Women) in Chiapas. Founded in 1992, the non-government organization brought together indigenous women to pool their skills to increase their income and role in community development. Now the Chiapas chapter also provides sexual health and reproductive rights education, literacy programs, and leadership development for women.

“We demand a life with justice and dignity without any violence … today we give you the colors of our work to join your dances and songs, fights and reclaims of a better life,” Santiz-Diaz said her address to the World Court of Women Against War in South Africa.

She led the Mayan women’s weaving cooperative known as Jolom Mayaetik, which was the initial focus of K’inal Antzetik. The two organizations are meeting the United Nations Millennium Development goals of addressing extreme poverty and hunger, empowering women and girls, promoting gender equality and economic development, improving maternal health, reducing maternal and infant mortality, and promoting women’s reproductive health.

“Rosalinda Santiz-Diaz is an internationally known leader in the transnational women’s movement working to end economic, political and domestic violence against women,” Charlene Gilbert, UT professor and chair of women’s and gender studies, said. “Her work is a testament to the power of women to mobilize their collective cultural resources in the service of community and indigenous rights.”

“K’inal Antzetik addresses ending economic, military, political and domestic violence against women, building capacity for indigenous women and communities while preserving Mayan culture,” Lea McChesney, UT visiting assistant professor of anthropology, said.

Following Santiz-Diaz’s talk, there will be a reception and market at 5 p.m. Weaving created by indigenous women of Chiapas and sold through Jolom Mayaetik will be available for purchase; all funds will benefit these indigenous organizations.

For more information on the free, public program, call the UT Department of Women and Gender Studies at 419.530.2233.

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