Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Glass floors

Mexican law requires parties to nominate women candidates to 40% of the seats in the national legislature. No such quota for local offices.

Two things to remember that the article doesn't mention are that mayors are often a camarilla's link to the grassroots, and that a mayor's office is often the first rung on the political ladder.

City Hall Still a Reach for Women in Mexico
Even as many Mexicans celebrate a milestone in Josefina Vázquez Mota, the first woman to be selected as the presidential candidate of a major Mexican political party, the number of women in office at the most basic level of government — in the small cities and villages that are a backbone of democracy — still falls notably short.

Only in 6 percent of the country’s cities and towns do women serve as municipal president, as mayors are called in Mexico. By contrast, women hold one in four seats in Congress, for which 40 percent of a party’s candidates must be women.

Political analysts who work with aspiring female politicians in Mexico say that the democratic process at the municipal level remains mired by a conservative and patriarchal culture, vague and unenforced gender quotas, and a lack of transparency and accountability.

Mayors are the most visible of local politicians — a double-edged sword. Their power makes them prime targets for criminals… but they are also highly influential allies for state leaders…

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