In both the United States and Mexico, 2018 has been called “the year of the woman,” an inspiring phrase based on the surges of female political activism across the globe. Despite using the same battle cry, the electoral landscapes for women in the two countries are drastically different: according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s measurement of women’s representation in parliament, the US ranks 102nd internationally, while Mexico ranks a striking 9th. Such an incredible gap cannot be simply explained by only one factor; however, Mexico’s mandatory gender quotas for political parties, along with a combination of proportional and winner-take-all districts, are indelibly crucial components, offering insightful lessons for visibly urgent change in the US.
Mexico has a history of legal support for parity in politics, but their most comprehensive and successive initiative has been the 2014 law requiring parties to ensure that 50% of candidates are female. Now, four years later, 42.5% of the lower house of Congress is female, an astounding number on par with Scandinavian countries. For contrast, the percentage of women in the US House of Representatives is not even 20%.
Claudia Sheinbaum, the first elected female mayor of Mexico City
Photo Credit: Express UK