Justice for Migrant Women founder Mónica Ramírez is helping migrant women farm workers get justice for gender-based violence and discrimination in the agriculture industry.
“Farm workers literally do life-sustaining work,” she explained. “And the fact that women are experiencing widespread sexual harassment in the fields should be deeply concerning to us as a country.”
Ramírez founded Justice for Migrant Women in 2014, which provides support, resources, and educational workshops.
Of the approximately two to three million farm workers in the U.S., nearly 305 are women. A 2012 Human Rights Watch study found that eight out of 10 women farm workers have experienced sexual harassment at work.
“We cannot have a situation in this country in which we’re saying that only certain lives or certain workers should be protected and only certain lives and only certain workers are valuable,” Ramírez said. “Because certainly the work that farm workers do is valuable work.”
Ramírez grew up in Ohio as the child of migrant farm workers. She was behind the November 2017 “Dear Sisters” open letter published in TIME by 700,000 migrant women farm workers expressing solidarity with Hollywood actors who came forward as survivors of sexual assault. She says current federal protections don’t protect workers who work on teams of less than 15 workers.
In partnership with TIME’S UP.