Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Fellow Since 1988
This profile was prepared when Mireya Toto was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1988.
The New Idea
In the last five years, the movimiento popular (popular movement) grassroots groups in Mexico have grown substantially, especially after the earthquake. The great number of groups, albeit often at different development stages, share many common characteristics -- including a lack of legal knowledge and consequently an inability to use the law as an instrument of social change.Mireya Toto Gutierrez wants to help these groups, especially the women's groups, to understand and use the law to their benefit. She begins by providing legal literacy courses to their leaders and then helps them pass on their knowledge to their groups. Working with the group leaders, Gutierrez will typically discuss concrete cases affecting its members (e.g., rape, abortion, battered women, etc.) and go on to help design specific strategies for action.