A Woman to Know: Comandanta Ramona

The women finally understood that their participation is important. — Maria

(image by Heriberto Rodriguez)

Comandante (or Comandata) Ramona was a grandmother living in Mexico City, selling her embroidery in southern Chiapas — until the Zapatistas first came to power in the 1990s. As part of the Zapatista Liberation Army, Ramona mobilized thousands of women to join the indigenous rights movement, until the ZLN was composed of one third women. In 1993, she drafted the "Revolutionary Law on Women," which read 10 demands for women's welfare in Mexico, including the following:

Women, regardless of their race, creed, color or political affiliation, have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle in a way determined by their desire and capacity.

Women have the right to decide the number of children they will have and care for.

Women have the right to an education.

Women shall not be beaten or mistreated by their family members of by strangers. Rape and attempted rape will be severely punished.

Women have the right to participate in the affairs of the community and hold positions of authority if they are freely and democratically elected.

When Ramona died in 2006, the ZLN ceased activity for an entire week, so that revolutionaries could attend her funeral.

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