Women Win Big In Mexico Elections, Shifting Country’s Political Landscape

Hanna Bogorowski | Reporter

Female candidates in Mexico’s July election secured roughly 49.2 percent of the Senate and 47.8 percent of the lower house of Congress, signaling a potential shift in political landscape following the election of leftist President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The election results now make Mexico’s Senate a high legislative branch with the second-largest female representation in the world, behind Belgium, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Mexico’s lower house of Congress now also has the fourth-highest percentage of female representatives. Additionally, a female, Claudia Sheinbaum, won the largely politically influential position of mayor of Mexico City.

These numbers contrast those of the U.S., where the Senate is 23 percent female and the House is 19.3 percent female.

The increase in female representation could in part be bolstered by the election of progressive Lopez Obrador, who campaigned on revamping Mexico’s government through a series of measures including slashing wages of senators, fighting drug violence, ridding the system of corruption and other positions that appealed to women.

Lopez Obrador announced his cabinet members, rather unusually, back in December. The 16-member cabinet consists of a balanced eight men and eight women. (RELATED: Lopez Obrador Proposes Border Force To Contain Illegal Immigration Into Mexico)

“Andres Manuel is convinced that women have a much higher capacity for hard work,” Sheinbaum told the WSJ. “It is a conviction of his.”

Another explanation could be the affirmative action-type rules that lobbyists have been working towards for decades, in which political parties are required to fill their ballots with a certain number of women.

Mexico started a mandatory 30 percent quota for female candidates in 2002, which was then raised to 40 percent by the 2009 elections.

Women in Mexico are excited by these recent developments, as they have long battled a country entrenched in a “machismo” culture.

“Mexico is a very machista country that puts major barriers in front of women who want to participate in political life. Seeing more women in power will be important symbolically, and we hope it will help make a lot of the pending agenda of gender equality a reality,” Ximena Andion, director of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, a Mexican women’s rights advocacy group, told the WSJ.

Despite the increased representation of women and Lopez Obrador’s pledges for equality, critics are wary of the broader coalition that he has aligned himself with.

Lopez Obrador’s MORENA party has partnered with the Social Encounter party, which opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

“Lopez Obrador, in an effort to build a multi-class, ideologically diverse and pragmatic coalition, basically allied himself with the devil on women’s issues,” said Denise Dresser, a prominent Mexican political analyst.

The confidence to run for office is also present in the U.S., where a record number of women are also seeking election. So far, 175 women have advanced in their primaries, with another 214 awaiting the primary elections, out of a total 602 women who ran or said they’d run for governor, House, or Senate.

Follow Hanna on Twitter

Email tips to hanna@dailycallernewsfoundation.org

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Tags : andres manuel lopez obrador mexico mexico city
© Copyright 2010 - 2018 | The Daily Caller