Leadership in Public Arenas

While in many Zapotee communities in Oaxaca women have been excluded from participating in the local political system as manifested in community assemblies and the assignment of civil cargos (volunteer community service jobs such as mayor, judges, police, committees for school, irrigation, communal land, forest resources), increasingly women are participating in community politics and taking on public service roles through the civil cargo system (Rubin, 1997; Stephen, 1996). In communities where local social movements have resulted in changes in traditional political systems and have brought in political parties or shaken up male-dominated political systems, women now attend community assemblies and are named to civil cargos. Traditionally, each household had to have a head who contributed to the community through taking on public service jobs known as civil cargos. Usually such household heads were males, but single mothers could pay someone else to assume their duty or take on female-appropriate tasks.

As levels of migration of both men and women have increased during the past 20 years in most communities, many men and now women are absent. In a number of Zapotec communities in Oaxaca with heavy male outmigration, women are staffing a majority of civil cargo jobs in their communities. In many communities women have begun to demand that they be able to attend community assemblies and increasingly are being named to civil cargo position, usually first in relation to schools, health, markets, and other "female" concerns. There have been several Zapotec women who have served as presidentes municipales or town mayors recently and one Zapotec woman was elected to the Mexican National Congress.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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