Women towards the presidency of Mexico, a new era?

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For the first time in Mexico’s history, there is a high probability that a woman will win the presidency, according to the trends in the polls and the coalitions of the parties that support Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez. So far, both candidates show greater strength and presence before the electorate.

The possibility of having a woman in the presidency is the result of a series of changes in the laws that favored the visibility and participation of women in the politics of our country. Although during the Independence, the Reform and the Revolution there were women who supported these movements, it was not until 1953 and after several reforms to different articles of the Constitution, that it became possible for women to be voted and cast their vote in the elections of July 3, 1955.

Another legal condition that allowed the advancement of women in politics was the reform of various articles of the Constitution to establish the mandatory gender parity in the electoral process at the national level. As a result, the local congresses also adopted similar measures. During June 2019, Mexico had the first parity legislature in its history and achieved parity in public office of the Powers of the Union and in the different orders of Government. This change in the political sphere has been a fundamental element that contributes to the legitimacy of the democratic system by representing the electorate in a more equitable way.

Although gender parity is linked to the issue of democracy and social justice, at the same time there are other reasons to include the vision of women leaders. According to the UN, in the document “Leadership and political participation of women”, when women leaders are part of the decision-making processes they promote changes for the benefit of the general population, for example, in India, the supply of drinking water is greater when there is female presence in the municipal council; or in Norway, where the presence of women in municipal councils has positively influenced child care coverage. In addition, women are more likely to defend causes such as the elimination of gender-based violence, parental leave and child care, pensions, among others, above political differences.

The research of Catherine Reyes-Housholder and Thomas Gwynn in their study “Gender incentives, party support and viable female presidential candidacies in Latin America” show a direct correlation between the presence of women presidents and the support for female leadership, as well as a greater propensity of women to participate and their voting intention.

The positive symbolic effects of having a woman in power can be translated into the aspiration by the citizens, or at least the awareness that it is possible to compete and win. This simple fact can lead to a greater female presence in elected positions. One of the observations of the research is that women presidents tend to promote gender agendas with less force than legislators. This action may be due to a greater concentration on other issues that they consider of greater importance for all citizens and not just for half of the population.

In the same vein, the research by Shan-Jan Sarah Liu and Lee Ann Banaszak titled “Do Women in Government Positions Matter? A Transnational Examination of the Impact of Female Ministers on Women’s Political Participation” shows that women in public office inspire other women to participate in the public sphere. They emphasize that girls, who are in early stages of political socialization, are positively influenced by creating expectations for them.

Mexican women have been advancing towards parity in the public sphere, but, more than a matter of justice, the contribution of women in terms of productivity, economics and social issues is complementary to that of men. An analysis should be made of the job profile of the Presidency of the Republic and the competencies that the candidates show to make the best possible decision in order to build a new era where the future is promising and the foundations are laid for a better and more equitable society in Mexico.

By: Por Yvette Mucharraz y Cano* y Karla Cuilty Esquivel**

Source: Forbes