Women will be in the majority in 10 of 32 state legislatures as a result of the June 6 elections, while female representation will exceed 40% in the other 22.
Women already hold more than 50% of the seats in the legislatures of Coahuila and Quintana Roo, which didn’t hold state congressional elections on June 6, and they will occupy more than half those in the congresses of Jalisco, Oaxaca, Yucatán, Sinaloa, Michoacán, Baja California, Querétaro and Mexico City thanks to voters’ preferences earlier this month.
Michoacán and Jalisco lead the way with 63% of their state representatives to be women followed by Oaxaca (60%) and Sinaloa (58%).
The San Luis Potosí Congress will have the lowest female representation at 41% followed by Baja California Sur, Hidalgo, Nayarit, Tabasco and Zacatecas, where 43% of seats will be occupied by women.
While women lawmakers will remain in the minority in a majority of states, their representation in politics is on the rise. It will be the first time ever that women will be in the majority in the legislatures of a double-digit number of states.
In the federal Congress, 246 of the 500 seats will be occupied by women for female representation of 49.2%, while women won six of the 15 gubernatorial elections held on June 6. Twenty-five of Mexico’s biggest cities are also set to be governed by female mayors as a result of the elections.
Among those are Mexicali, Tijuana, La Paz, Campeche city, Colima city, Manzanillo, Irapuato, Chilpancingo, Acapulco, Tepic, Chetumal, Cancún, Villahermosa, Veracruz city and León.
A 2019 constitutional reform aimed at increasing female participation in politics and related secondary laws enacted last year have helped to increase both the number of women chosen as candidates by political parties and the number of women elected.
Martha Tagle, a federal deputy with the Citizens Movement party, described the increased female representation as a result of this month’s elections as “a very important advance,” asserting that it goes some way toward compensating for the “historic inequality we have suffered.”
Madeleine Bonnafoux Alcaraz, a federal deputy with the National Action Party and member of the lower house’s gender equality committee, said the long quest for gender parity is finally yielding results.
“The voices of women will begin to be heard more loudly” and state legislatures will begin to modify laws that discriminate against women, she said.
The newspaper El Universal reported that the push to decriminalize abortion across Mexico – Mexico City and Oaxaca are the only states where abortion is legal – and the call for meaningful action to be taken to address the high levels of violence against women could be given a boost by the increased participation of women in politics.
“The next step” toward achieving gender parity in Mexican politics will be for women to take up more leadership roles within legislatures, said Adriana Lecona, a representative of the feminist group Ultravioletas Feministas.
Women should be heading up budget and finance committees and not just the ones they have traditionally led such as children’s rights and social development committees, she said.
- An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the mayor-elect of Tijuana was Karla Ruiz McFarland.