Women are an underappreciated economic force who, when empowered by association with a female organization, can be a catalyst for development. To assess the status of Indigenous rural women, as well as the mechanisms and impacts of their empowerment, this paper presents a case study of a community development approach based on the Masehual Siuamej Mosenyolchicacauani organization in Cuetzalan del Progreso, Puebla. The methodology used is a mixed-methods approach involving a literature review of two regional instruments: The Federal Program “Pueblos Mágicos” and the Land and Environmental Management Program “POET” for Cuetzalan. It also includes geo-data collection from public sources, empirical data collection from open-ended interviews, and focus group discussions with key informants from the Indigenous organization. The research found that, despite an inclusive legal and institutional framework, weak policy implementation and certain federal programs tend to segregate Indigenous communities. Mechanisms such as cultural tourism and inclusive land management programs, capacity building initiatives, and female associations have proven useful for empowering women and have had positive socioeconomic impacts on the community. The research concluded that female Indigenous associations are a tool to empower rural women, grant them tenure security, strengthen their engagement in decision making, and consolidate them as key stakeholders in community development.
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