As part of feminist scholarship on the Northern Mexican border region, this paper contributes in changing the perspective of seeing women as passive victims of borders to subjects with agency. This research, done at the border town of Naco, is based on a feminist ethnographic approach and encounters done with a specific group of women that participate in Naco Wellness Initiative, a health NGO. Following a Feminist Standpoint Epistemology, I prioritize women experiences as the main source of knowledge for this research. Through Borderland Theory, the borders that are present within these women lives are conceptualized beyond the material border that divides their community between Mexico and the United States. It shows trough an intersectional approach how women perceptions and encounters with these borders are dependent on aspects, such as place of origin, class, education, migratory status towards the U.S., number of children, marital status and relations, and so on. Using critical approaches to development interventions and women empowerment, this research explores how women appropriate the Naco Wellness Initiative projects and give different meanings to them according to their specific needs, which are mainly born out of the borders they face towards Mexican institutions and gender relations. For instance, the reason women join these projects go beyond their given agenda on health, and more on personal obstacles or needs women need to tackle. Also, it shows how through their interactions, women are shaping their own empowerment agenda. For example, expanding their identities beyond their given role of mother or wives. Privileging women’s narratives, this research follows a grounded theory approach and emic categorizations to give light to the way women participants navigate through borders and obstacles. Echarle Lucha or Luchando is how they conceptualized their actions, which according to them, were born out of their desire and intentions to keep moving forward against some of the complexities present in their every day lives at the borderlands.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Borderlands, Borderland Theory, New Mestiza, La Facultad, Development Interventions, Women Empowerment, Gender Relations, Navigation, Luchando, Echandole Lucha
Thesis Advisor Grabska, Katarzyna
Persistent URL
Series Social Policy for Development (SPD)
Ruelas De Leon, Maria Jose. (2018, December 17). Luchando y Echándole Lucha: the ability of women of Naco, Sonora to navigate through obstacles and borders. Social Policy for Development (SPD). Retrieved from