Why Sheinbaum's historic election may not result in gender equality

Claudia Sheinbaum has made history. On June 2, she was elected as the primary woman president of Mexico. Almost 36 million Mexicans voted for Sheinbaum, greater than twice as many as for her closest competitor and fellow candidate Xóchitl Gálvez.

In the last twenty years, political reforms Mandatory gender parity in the chief, legislative and judicial branches has strengthened women's political representation in Mexico. These reforms paved the best way for this historic election.

But despite this achievement, indigenous, African and dealing class women remain underrepresented There has been a discount in gender inequality in political positions, but in other areas gender differences have hardly improved.

For example, gender imbalances live on within the distribution of care and domestic work, in addition to within the participation in paid work. And gender-based violence is ascendingIn fact, ten women are actually murdered in Mexico on average daily, with a Third of those cases is assessed as femicide (where women are killed due to their gender).

Sheinbaum has made some promising proposals to advance gender equality in Mexico, but she lacks a comprehensive approach to combating gender-based violence and a transparent technique to fund a much-needed national care system.

It also didn’t outline steps to combat male-chauvinistic gender norms in Mexico and paid little attention to the long-standing inequalities faced by indigenous and Afro-Colombian women in Mexico.

A group of women dressed in black with covered faces holding a clenched fist above their heads.
Women protest against the femicides that took place in Atizapán, Mexico in May 2021.
Sashenka Gutierrez / EPA

In their plan (100 Steps to Transformation), Sheinbaum takes a human rights-based approach to gender equality. This implies that policies on this area are supported by legal protections for girls's rights.

This approach is according to the views of Olga Sanchez Corderoa outstanding feminist and former lawyer and senator who became the primary woman to function Mexican Interior Minister in 2018. Sánchez Cordero worked closely with Sheinbaum to develop the plan’s women’s rights proposals, and was mentioned as a possible Minister for Women.

Among probably the most promising measures of the plan are the creation of public early education centers and the extension of parental leave. These measures aim to cut back the care burden on women, who in Mexico two and a half times more of their time on unpaid home tasks and care work in comparison with men. The plan also proposes legal reforms to guard women's sexual and reproductive rights and combat discrimination against LGBTQ+ communities.

In terms of political participation, the plan goals to advertise gender-balanced cabinets and increase the representation of ladies in the general public prosecution service. It also goals to enhance land law for rural women, lower than a 3rd the communal landowners.

The plan also sets out several goals to be achieved by 2030. The most vital ones include reducing the variety of femicides by 30%, reducing the gender pay gap to zero and achieving 50% gender parity in mayoral positions.

The weak points

Violence against women is some of the pressing issues Sheinbaum will face. Femicide is probably the most extreme type of violence faced by women in Mexico. But it is much from the just one. In 2021, over 70% of ladies in Mexico were reported have experienced some type of violence of their lives – a situation that worsened during the last decade.

Gender-based violence is widespread and complicated in Mexico, so it’s surprising that the plan doesn’t include strategies that address gender norms in on a regular basis life. Sheinbaum's proposals to combat violence against women focus almost exclusively on strengthening the justice system.

Of particular concern is a selected measure she has proposed to guard victims of gender-based violence. Sheinbaum's plan proposes that “initiatives be sent to Congress to ensure shelter, but above all to require perpetrators to leave the home so that women can stay with their children.”

Encouraging survivors to remain at home, where perpetrators may return, endangers the physical safety and well-being of ladies and youngsters and poses the danger of re-victimization.

Women shout and cheer during a march to mark International Women's Day.
Women take part in a march on International Women's Day in Guadalajara, Mexico in March 2024.
Francisco Guasco / EPA

Women in Mexico don’t only struggle with violence. In addition to addressing the gendered division of care work, investments in care infrastructure and services are needed to support women's participation in paid employment and entrepreneurship.

But a long time of Underinvestment implies that Sheinbaum will inherit weakened health and care systems. To address this problem, she has arrange a national care systemwhich has already been set out in a law passed by the present government.

This law makes the best to care a state responsibility and requires paid care employees to be trained and to have decent working conditions. It also sets quality standards for the availability of services, creates a register of service providers and promotes the inclusion of ladies and men in care roles.

Time will tell whether the needed budget Funds are being made available for this initiative and to enhance all the healthcare system.

Gender equality shouldn’t be only a “women’s issue”, but one which requires coordination across ministries and policy areas – from health and care to industry and innovation.

When Sheinbaum takes office in October, she is going to have a novel opportunity to advance gender equality in Mexico. She can be supported by a a majority in Congress, which should give her the leeway to pursue a feminist political agenda if she so desires.

This majority can be crucial to creating progress in probably the most controversial areas, corresponding to women's sexual and reproductive rights, and to making sure that the needed resources are made available for gender equality.

image credit : theconversation.com