Women's vote, an element in the political construction of the country

In July 1955, women went to the polls for the first time to elect federal deputies. Today, women in Mexico hold important positions in the public and private sectors, as well as in educational institutions.

Women's vote, an element in the political construction of the country
For the first time in July 1955, they went to the polls to elect federal deputies. Photo: UNAM

Although since the recognition of women's right to vote there have been important advances in their favor, such as a robust electoral legal corpus, there is a differentiated treatment and a clear threat of violence and inequalities that affect them "overwhelmingly", which prevents them from exercising full citizenship, says Amneris Chaparro Martínez, researcher and academic secretary of UNAM's Center for Research and Gender Studies (CIEG).

The women's suffrage of 1955 "was the vindication of a very long struggle, of decades, of a collective work carried out by several women's groups throughout the country. And achieving the status of citizenship is not a merely nominal matter, but the possibility of being part of the political construction of a country. In that sense, the significance is enormous, it is part of a series of political and social demands that are very necessary for any country that claims to be democratic", she adds.

In July of that year, they went to the polls for the first time to elect federal deputies of the XLII Legislature, after the then President of the Republic Adolfo Ruiz Cortines enacted, in October 1953, the constitutional reforms for them to enjoy full citizenship. Although strictly speaking they are no longer second-class citizens since the law is clear and there are important modifications, other elements are needed.

Structural inequality, which is associated with gender, class, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation, is the first obstacle to exercising this guarantee. "Women and feminized subjects are deprived of basic education and the priority for them is perhaps not to exercise their political rights, but to survive. When we have a part of the population in a situation of marginalization, of constant vulnerability, the exercise of citizenship becomes even more complicated," she said.

Since the women's vote, progress has been made in terms of public policy and government; it is an important qualitative change, since the former is no longer simply welfare-oriented, thinking of them as mothers or wives. They began to be seen as subjects of politics and in politics, ideas that were previously denied by uses and customs.

We burst in, she asserts, in different ways in universities, governments, state and financial institutions; in quantitative terms, they are in relevant positions. "When we see a classroom with half or more female students, these are advances, but there is still a long way to go".

There is a lack of policy and awareness-raising actions on the importance of thinking of them as subjects of rights, human beings in all their dimensions, as a fundamental part of the making of society.

"We have to start by making visible the contributions of women and stop thinking of them as a monolith, a homogeneous group, think of them in their complexity, in their differences, in their different political and ethical positions, think of them as human beings, and this is done from the institutions and the social fabric (family, schools) to overthrow traditional ideas and myths about what women want, to think of other forms of coexistence that do not tie people to gender mandates. We must stop associating men with violence and women with fragility," she said.

Among the issues for which women's struggle continues are violence, femicide, decriminalization of abortion, and the precariousness of work, since due to their gender condition they work in the most marginalized, precarious, informal economy and unpaid jobs such as domestic or care work.