Women’s political representation soared in Mexico during the past five years to such an extent that gender parity is almost a reality in state and federal legislatures.
The number of women in elected positions at a municipal, state and federal level increased 71.2% between 2015 and 2020, according to an analysis by the newspaper Milenio.
There were 809 women in the positions of mayor, governor, state deputy, federal deputy and federal senator in 2015. In 2020, 1,385 women held those positions, an increase of 576.
Of the 500 deputies in the lower house of federal Congress, 241, or 48.2%, were women in 2020, an increase of 24.6% compared to 2015.
In the 128-seat federal Senate, there were 63 female senators last year, a figure that accounts for 49.2% of all upper house lawmakers. Only 38.3% of senators were women in 2015.
The situation across state legislatures is similar: women held 543, or 48.5%, of deputy positions last year, up from 409, or 34.6%, in 2015.
But while gender equality is within reach in the two houses of federal Congress and across state legislatures collectively, women remain vastly underrepresented in positions of mayor and governor – even though the situation improved between 2015 and 2020.
There were 536 female mayors last year, a 131% increase compared to 2015 when there were 232. However, women still only hold power in 21.7% of Mexico’s almost 2,500 municipalities.
As for governors, there was just one woman in the top state job in 2015 while in 2020 there were effectively two.
(They are Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich and Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum. The capital has state-like status and the importance of the mayor, or jefe de gobierno (head of government), position is considered on par with governor.)
That means that women are in power in just 6.25% of Mexico’s 32 federal entities. However, that could soon change because numerous women will contest elections for governor to be held in 15 states on June 6. The Federal Electoral Tribunal ruled in December that parties must nominate women candidates for governor in at least seven states.
All told, there are 4,251 mayor, deputy, governor and senator positions in Mexico and women hold 32.6% of them. In 2015, the figure was 18.8%.
One of Mexico’s 536 women mayors is Nancy Gómez Vargas, who holds the top job in Chicoloapan, a México state municipality that is part of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area. She told Milenio that her political journey to become mayor was not an easy one.
“My municipality has strong customs and a very strong inclination toward the masculine gender in politics,” said Gómez, who at 34 is younger than the vast majority of mayors.
She said the most difficult thing in governing as a woman was “to show at all times that you have the capacity and necessary knowledge to be in the position.”
“…With the proposals we’re presenting from a feminine perspective people are accepting and recognizing little by little that women have a key role to play in politics,” Gómez added.
While women’s representation has increased significantly, one elected position that has eluded Mexican women is that of president.
However, there is a possibility that could change in 2024. A recent poll found that Mayor Sheinbaum is one of two leading contenders to become the ruling party’s candidate in the next presidential election. The other is Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
Source: Milenio (sp)