Authorities have tried to use the high levels of illiteracy to justify lack of access to information. In turn, the absence of accessible information has allowed authorities to escape accountability for the delivery of public services.
Last year, in partnership with a local women’s organisation, Colectivo Feminista la Casa de la Mujer Ixim Antsetic (CAM), my colleagues in ARTICLE 19 worked with indigenous women from Chiapas and Tabasco to build capacity and exercise their right to know. The project saw the women of Chiapas and Tabasco demand their civil, socio-economic and cultural rights, and increase the visibility of women in public decision-making.
Women in these communities face marginalisation through gender discrimination, racism, illiteracy and geographical and linguistic isolation; participation in decision-making or local assemblies is often dependent on land ownership, which is usually only obtained by women through succession from their husbands.