Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional

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The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional (National Mexican Women's Commission, abbreviated as CFMN), is a Mexican American organization geared towards the political and economic empowerment of Hispanic women, particularly Chicanas, in the United States.

History[edit]

The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional has its origins in October 1970. During the National Chicano Issues Conference of that year, a group of women expressed their worries about issues that were important to Chicanas. They felt, however, that the conference participants were more worried about other issues, such as immigration, than solving problems that affected women. As a consequence, other women that were not part of that original group of women also joined them in their criticisms. Many women at the 1970 National Chicano Issues Conference felt that this conference was geared towards solving problems that were more common to, and affected directly, men, instead of their own problems. This led the women to form the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional.

In 1972, the CFMN established a learning and help center, the Chicana Service Action Center. This center helped Chicanas by finding jobs for them.

In 1973, the women belonging to the CFMN decided to hold their first conference. The event took place in Goleta, California. During this conference, the name Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional was instituted, and some basic rules as far as the CFMN's purposes were established. It was agreed, for example, that the CFMN would help enhance the achievements of Mexican and Chicana women, and also try to forge relationships with other women organizations across the United States. Actress Carmen Zapata and Congressman Richard Alatorre were the keynote speakers. An important link was established with the Coalition of National Hispanic Women's Organizations.

After their first conference, the CFMN went on to create bilingual schools for children; these were named Centros de Niños, and included day care and child development centers. These services were usually offered to children of working and poor Chicano women.

The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional had already gained national attention in the United States when, in 1975, it became involved in the case Madrigal vs. Quilligan, obtaining a moratorium on the compulsory sterilization of women and adoption of bilingual consent forms, as well as resolving to ensure the enforcement of a 72-hour period before a woman had to make the decision whether or not to be sterilized. These steps were necessary because many Hispanic women who did not understand English well were being sterilized in the United States at the time, without proper consent.

The CFMN then concentrated on attracting more members and obtaining political power. In 1977, representatives of the CFMN attended the National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas.

In Washington, D.C., meanwhile, the CFMN became involved in the National ERA March, and began to lobby for the Equal Rights Amendment, all the while actively asking Chicanas to take action in decision making processes. These efforts were aimed towards making Chicana women feel more independent, among other things.

During the early 1980s, the CFMN's president Gloria Moreno-Wycoff met with former United States President Jimmy Carter in Washington, D.C.

By 1985, the CFMN had taken on other feminist causes, such as aid for teenage girls who were involved with the criminal justice system. To that end, the CFMN inaugurated the Casa Victoria center. A newsletter, La Mujer, started publication, and the CFMN spread to 23 chapters nationally. Having achieved many of the goals set during their first conference, the Commission stopped holding the annual conferences during this year. Business meetings, however, continued to be held for another decade.

Current status[edit]

In 2000, the CFMN's archives were established at the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA) of UCSB's Davidson Library. Although the national organization eventually waned, the CFMN still has local chapters that actively work on Chicana issues. In 2003, CEMA hosted the CFMN's 30th anniversary conference, with Representative Nell Soto scheduled as keynote speaker. The student group MUJER (Mujeres Unidas para Justicia, Educación, and Revolución) coordinated the involvement of local high school girls as a means to inspire, educate, and demonstrate the achievements of which women are capable with education, organization, and dedication.

Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional presidents, by year[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]