"Women have been the most exploited . . . We get up at three in the morning to prepare corn for our husband's breakfast and we don't rest until late at night. If there is not enough food we give it to our children and our husbands first. So the women now have decided to take up arms and become Zapatistas." -Comandante Ramona, EZLN
Indigenous women make up almost a third of the Zapatista army. They go to the hills to join because of their need to help in the fight for their homes and because they know that that the EZLN is committed to equal rights for men and women and will not tolerate sexism within their ranks.
The EZLN has come up with comprehensive laws concerning women. The following are the ten Revolutionary Women's Laws:
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 ability.
Women have the right to work and receive a fair salary.
Women have the right to decide the number of children they will bear and care for.
Women have the right to participate in the affairs of the community and to hold positions of authority if they are freely and democratically elected.
Women and their children have the right to primary attention in the matters of health and nutrition.
Women have the right to education.
Women have the right to choose their partner and are not to be forced into marriage.
Women shall not be beaten or physically mistreated by their family members or by strangers. Rape and attempted rape will be severely punished.
Women will be able to occupy positions of leadership in the organization and to hold military ranks in the revolutionary armed forces.
Women will have all the rights and obligations elaborated in the revolutionary laws and regulations.
Although most of these items seem like basic rights, most women in