Completed Research

Women Defenders of Jalisco: Combating Industrial Land Deterioration

University of Toronto

Land-preserving initiatives in the metropolitan periphery of Guadalajara have been created in reaction to the extreme contamination of the Santiago River. In this study, the focus is placed on 3 land-defending initiatives: a communal orchard/plant nursery, a farming collective, and a water purification program. Passing down knowledge about sustainable cultivation, health, and the environment in this area through women’s role in the community is a crucial part of their attempt to reclaim and defend the territory. This year, students and faculty at ITESO and the University of Toronto will be working together to investigate how these initiatives continue their practices, transmit knowledge through the involvement of women, and further work to promote change in this region to benefit the well-being of their communities.


The Reach Alliance was created in 2015 by the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, in partnership with Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth. Our global university network now includes: Ashesi University, the University of Cape Town, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Singapore Management University, University College London, University of Melbourne, University of Oxford, and University of Toronto.

This research inscribes itself in a broader research project led and coordinated by Daniela M. Gloss at the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Guadalajara, Mexico. This project investigates the politics of care and women’s struggles for land and place in Jalisco through participant observation and semi-structured interviews. We thank Daniela M. Gloss, Gregorio L. Martinez, and many other researchers at ITESO — this research work would not have been possible without them. We also thank our faculty mentor, Erica Di Ruggiero, our team coach, Vadim Levin, and Moni Kim, who accompanied us on our field trip, for their help and support. Finally, we thank the Reach Alliance for the opportunity and support offered throughout our research process.