Red Dresses and Missing Women

Red Dresses and Missing Women

By Trish Snyder


May 5, 2010, marked the first Red Dress Day to grieve and remember the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada. The project began as part of artist Jaime Black’s ongoing art series titled The REDress Project to highlight the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women. 


The project grew after Black displayed an installation at the University of Winnipeg that included a series of empty red dresses to honor and symbolize the lost lives of Indigenous women at the hands of violence. Participants were encouraged to display empty red dresses in public spaces or wear red dresses to show support for the lives lost. Installations of red dresses are now displayed in museums, university campuses, and exhibits all over Canada. In 2016, the project expanded to the United States.


The problem of missing women is not limited to indigenous women nor to one country. In Mexico every day, five women go missing. Were they stolen, trafficked, kidnapped? What happened to them? Sadly, most of these women will never be found, will never return to their families. 


Ser Mujer is joining women’s organizations throughout North America by collecting and displaying red dresses in public to draw attention to this problem. We will be collecting donated dresses through November 25, the International Day Against Violence Towards Women. The dresses will be displayed during March, Women’s History Month, throughout San Miguel with informational posters on where to go for help and how to report a missing person.


Donated dresses can be dropped off at El Sindicato, Recreo 4 in Centro; at Geek and Coffee at Fabrica Aurora: Huipilista Art Space at Julian Carillo 1 in Colonia Guadalupe: Mixta at Pila Seca 3; and at La Conexion, Aldama 3.


Won’t you join us by adding your dress to our collection? It does not have to be a new dress. Any red dress will do. Add your voice to ours. Speak up for women.


Ser Mujer is a San Miguel de Allende group of Mexican, American, and Canadian women of all ages working in partnership with community-based organizations. Our goal is to promote the commonality of women’s issues across cultures, to raise awareness of their challenges, and to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions. or visit our Facebook page Ser Mujer SMA.