Women in Mexico obtain equal participation in Congress

Mexico's next administration will have equal participation of men and women in the Chamber of Deputees
Women in Mexico obtain equal participation in Congress
In the Senate, 63 seats (49.2% of the chamber) are to be occupied by women whereas the remaining 65 seats (50.7%) will be occupied by men - Photo: Taken from Canal del Congreso's Twitter page
04/07/2018
13:33
Daniela Guazo
Mexico City
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In September 2018, Mexico’s 64th legislature will come into action. Unlike previous legislations, it will be the first time that it will be equally split between men and women, according to the Preliminary Elections Results Program (PREP) from the National Electoral Institute (INE).

49% of seats in the Chamber of Deputies (which mounts to 243 people) will belong to female legislators, whereas 50.8% (245 seats) will be occupied by men, according to data from INE. This is of particular significance when we consider that the number of women participating at the chamber in 2003 was of 115.

Although in each change of term the country has seen an increase of women’s participation, the difference between both genders had been of at least 100 seats until 2015, when 213 women and 287 men joined the 63rd legislature, which represents a difference of barely 74 seats. This number shrunk even more after Mexico’s last election: Men will only hold 9 more seats than women at the chamber.

The Senate paints a similar picture: 63 seats (49.2% of the chamber) are to be occupied by women whereas the remaining 65 seats (50.7%) will be occupied by men. This is even more surprising given that, in the year 2000, the number of women in the Senators chamber was no more than 42. During the 2000-2006 administration, the Senate was formed by only 20 women and 108 men. The current legislature, which is soon to end, was comprised of 42 women and 82 men.

These results have made the new Congress, which will start working on September of the present year, one with the greatest female participation in the history of Mexico, closing the gender gap between men and women.

 

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Both investigators and civil organizations have reacted to this announcement by ensuring that such a change was necessary, since a democracy can’t possibly work without women. And that, although the new composition is not perfectly equal, the gender gap was reduced to only 13 seats, according to INE’s report.

In spite of this accomplishment, specialists have agreed that gender equality in Congress had been demanded since 2014 in regard to general elections, though political parties strongly rejected these ideas. This considerable reduction of the gender gap will aid in the creation of legislative agendas which contribute to gender equality in terms of violence against women, which is extremely relevant given that Mexico has been facing a serious feminicide issue for a long time, and it should thus be one of its top priorities.

Most members of the Chamber of Deputies belong to the political party of MORENA, with 57 women and 49 men regarding relative majority, and 43 women and 42 men representing multicandidate elections, according to data from INE.
 

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Some of the women that will integrate the next legislature are Patricia Mercado and Marta Tagle, members of the Front (formed by the political parties of PAN, PRD, and MC).

The President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, agreed that this was a big step towards gender equality, considering that women in Mexico didn’t have the right to vote until 1955. Now, 63 years later, INE is anticipating the news of a historical participation of women legislators in Congress.

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