Mexican women's rights advocate speaks at breakfast

Published on Friday, 11 April 2014 09:26 - Written by

By CASEY MURPHY, cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

Living in Mexico, Lucy Nunez witnesses the daily fight for women’s rights.

On Thursday, the former mayor of San Miguel Allende, Mexico, gave an empowering presentation to members of the Tyler community at the Hispanic Business Alliance breakfast.

Mrs. Nunez said women in Mexico suffer and survive on a daily basis, beginning their walk to work at dawn to make 3,000 pesos, or about $230, per month. Often they return home to be beaten by drunk husbands, and although they tell their story hundreds of times, nothing happens.

“In Mexico, being a woman is a daily fight for our rights,” she said. “Mexico is changing but not fast enough.”

There is an exodus of immigrants who cross the border into America searching for an opportunity they can’t find in their own country, she said.

Mrs. Nunez was lucky.

She grew up in a unified family with no economic problems. She attended the best colleges in Mexico and graduated from the University of Southern California; she backpacked all over the world. She is a former anchor of Univision Television and is co-owner of radio and television stations.

One day she realized it was her duty to try to change her city, which was founded in 1542. In 2009, she was elected as its first female mayor.

She ran as a citizen candidate against the three parties that rule Mexico. Her husband, Javier, encouraged her to go for it, even though she felt insecure.

He told her, “Lucy you’re always questioning politicians about their decisions. … Why don’t you take the position and help a lot of people?”

“One day I woke up and decided to go” for it, she said.

Her slogan was Spirit, Valor, Courage and Never Fear. During her campaign, many people became involved, wanting more transparency, especially with the city’s budget, she said.

“With this victory, all citizens won,” she said, “The woman won.”

Change is very slow and needs more people to express that they want change and who will not only hope for it, but will ask for and move for it, she said.

“We need a woman to speak loud and clear that we’re not less than a man,” she said. “We are woman and that is enough.”

Women are the base of a family, waking up at 4 a.m. if necessary to have everything at home organized before going off to work. Women work because of an economical or emotional need or they want to feel useful. She said both men and women have the right to an education to prepare themselves for a career.

Most women in Mexico have a maximum of seven years education and have a child before they are 20. Fathers encourage their sons to go to college, but not their daughters because they will get married, Mrs. Nunez said. It is difficult for men to understand that both boys and girls have the same right to an education, she added.

She said women’s business rights also is a war fought every day in every country, not just in Mexico. She said they must express themselves, act and work together to change the environment and make it a better future for all.

Mrs. Nunez said when people have a passion for something, it is easy to reach the sun and touch the mountain. Goals can be achieved.

“I am a woman and I am proud of it,” she said. “I strongly believe the principle ingredient that moves a woman is passion. … We look straight into the eye and we go for it.”

Thursday’s presentation was Mrs. Nunez’s second trip to Tyler. She visited here three years ago while she was serving as mayor of San Miguel Allende, which is one of Tyler’s Sister Cities.

About 70 people attended the breakfast at Holiday Inn South Broadway, representatives said. Citizens National Bank and AeroMexico sponsored the event.