Mexico elects first female president – ​​but will this improve the fate of ladies within the country?

Mexico could have its first female president, after a groundbreaking vote on June 2, 2024.

After a Election period overshadowed by violenceThe ruling Morena party's candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum, a former mayor of Mexico City, emerged victorious with about 60% of the vote – a bigger share of the vote than her mentor and predecessor, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, won in 2018. Sheinbaum defeated her rival Xóchitl Gálvez, a senator from the center-right National Action Party, who trailed by lower than 30%.

Given the importance of this occasion Sheinbaum said: “For the first time in the 200 years of the Republic, I will be the first female president of Mexico.”

But Scientists who study politics and Gender in Mexicowe all know that appearance is one thing, actual performance is one other. Seventy years after Women won the fitting to vote Is Mexico getting closer to changes that might give women true equality?

Unequal fight for gender equality

Women now represent half of Congressafter electoral reforms mandated gender parity in nominations for Mexican parliaments almost a decade ago. And two women, Ana Lilia Rivera and Marcela Guerra Castillo, occupy the highest posts in each houses of Congress. Meanwhile, Norma Lucía Piña is the first woman as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Mexico. The preliminary results of the election night also favor Sheinbaum's Morena party and provides them a Two-thirds majority in CongressTherefore, Sheinbaum will almost definitely have ample support for a feminist political agenda should she pursue one.

But the election of ladies to high office doesn’t necessarily result in a major shift in power. Experts on women in politics call this “descriptive representation“ – when political leaders resemble a gaggle of voters but don’t pursue policies designed to guard them. In contrast, “factual representation“ occurs when public officials pass laws that really profit the groups they supposedly represent.

Scientists studying the difference between the 2, including Sonia Alvarez, Mala Htun And Jennifer Piscopohave found that gains in the general public sphere, reminiscent of the fitting to vote or to carry office, have rarely led to progress for ladies within the private sphere, reminiscent of the fitting to reproductive freedom or protection from domestic violence.

A woman holds a green torch during a street protest.
Members of feminist organizations exhibit for the decriminalization of abortion in Mexico City on September 28, 2023.
Silvana Flores/AFP via Getty Images

In other words, while Mexico has overtaken many countries, including the United States, in promoting women in political leadership positions, it still has not reached its Stigma of machismo and be History of authoritarianism.

In the Nineties resurgent feminist movement Across Latin America, the reforms led to major breakthroughs in women's rights. By the tip of the last decade, many countries had passed laws against gender-based violence and introduced reforms requiring gender quotas in party nomination lists. In the last 17 years, seven women have been elected president in Central and South America.

But the fight for gender equality is uneven. Mexico is a rustic that remains to be shaken by high femicide rateGovernment data shows that on average Every day 10 women and girls are killed by partners or relations.

Government accused of harassment

An enormous query now is whether or not Sheinbaum will give you the chance to deal with the problem of gender-based violence, something her predecessors did not do.

Any skepticism in regards to the willingness of Sheinbaum’s government to implement a real feminist agenda could be justified: her campaign theme was continuity, and she or he has hesitated up to now deviate far, if in any respect, from Lopez Obrador’s agenda.

Under López Obrador, Morena was accused of downplaying the extent of the femicide crisis. At least one critic claimed that López Obrador was “the primary president to categorically deny” the violence.

Instead, López Obrador used his every day press conference “tomorrow” to report Verbal attacks against women in office, including Sheinbaum's defeated rival Gálvez. In July 2023, the independent National Electoral Institute found Lopez Obrador guilty of targeting Galvez with derogatory remarks about her gender.

López Obrador also condemned Piña, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, where Mexico's National Association of Judges has described as hate speech and the federal judiciary sentenced as “gender-based violence” and hatred against them. His statements at a rally in March incited his followers to burn Piña in effigywhich led critics to imagine that such attacks not only reflect López Obrador’s aversion to checks and balances, but The aim is to undermine women in positions of power.

Mexico's client politics

Observers see Sheinbaum as López Obrador’s hand-picked successor: He has publicly supported her, and she or he has vowed to proceed his “fourth transformation,” a campaign promise to finish government corruption and reduce poverty that Mixed results.

Sheinbaum's record as mayor of Mexico City is equally mixed. She has publicly described herself as feminist and has criticized Prosecutors for covering up the murder of 27-year-old Ariadna Lopez. At the identical time, Sheinbaum attempted to criminalize participants a mass protest against the hundreds of ladies who’ve disappeared lately, claiming that these demonstrations were violent.

Political scientists have shown that even when politicians change, the actors behind the scenes can remain the identical – especially in Mexico, where political parties entangled in client politics – when party leaders reward loyalty by deciding who runs for office and who keeps their post when the federal government is handed over to a brand new administration.

Sheinbaum will likely remain committed to the Morena coalition and rely heavily on López Obrador to implement its policies.

A feminist future?

During the election campaign, Sheinbaum and her rival Gálvez Advocates And shared their experiences as women.

But in the ultimate stages of the campaign, neither Sheinbaum nor Gálvez could offer potential voters greater than the “historic first” argument. Therefore, the expansion of ladies's rights under the brand new government stays uncertain.

Beyond front-line politics, there was progress on women's rights in Mexico when politicians committed to substantive change.

In particular, under Pinã, the Mexican Supreme Court declared all federal and state laws Abortion ban unconstitutionalWhen Piña took office, promised to fight for ladies's rights in her agenda. So far she has delivered.

If Sheinbaum hopes to realize similar success, she must follow Pinã's example and focus her programs on the problems that the majority affect women of their every day lives, starting with the rising rate of femicides. Women could also be gaining political power in Mexico, however the query now is whether or not they may use it to fight for the ladies they represent.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on November 13, 2023.

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