Madam President, we need you to be an ally for women (so we can believe again)

Montage of a photo of Claudia Sheimbaum, President-elect of Mexico. Image via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

At some point, we have all wondered about the day after tomorrow. That day after all the commercial, media, and marketing paraphernalia, when the campaigns are over, when people are kept up at night checking the Preliminary Electoral Results Program (PREP), by means of which the election results are confirmed, for the trauma or pleasure of the voters.

The day after tomorrow came and we met it calmly. The main news story became a reality: #HabemusPresidenta, with all the implications of living in North America and being the first nation of North America, which is also Latin, to have a woman in charge of Mexico's destiny.

Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo is the person who today is at the center of national discourse, hopes, summary judgments, doubts, letters to Santa Claus, and a long etcetera. I honestly never believed that we would have a female president before we had a female rector at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) — there is no doubt that the patriarchal framework is still a very hard nut to crack.

As I write this note, the PREP shows 162,517 precincts counted out of a total of 170,648, which means 95.2352 percent of the electorate. Citizen participation is very close to 61 percent, an unprecedented voter turnout. This makes Sheinbaum the candidate who has historically obtained the most votes, even more than President López Obrador.

Read more: Will Mexico have its first woman president?

We Mexicans are very prone to look for happy endings with an air of a telenovela. Perhaps that's why in March 2024, a book was published: Presidenta: Más de 100 mujeres te escriben [“President: More than 100 women write to you”], compiled by journalist and radio host Yuriria Sierra. In this book, 112 women scientists, writers, filmmakers, artists, singers, businesswomen, and of course activists combine their voices, from the trenches, to tell the first woman to govern this country what they expect from her.

As a result of this action, activist, teacher, and singer-songwriter Vivir Quintana sent a letter to Sheinbaum when she was a candidate, with clear and specific requests: This country cries out in pain. Mexico urgently needs to protect its women and children. I ask you, should you be elected to be the next president of Mexico, for your commitment to be a true ally for all.”

Vivir Quintana asks not only that she be, of course, President, but that above all she be a compañera, an ally. Subsequently, on May 28, Quintana released the song “Compañera Presidenta” on YouTube, with a clear message for horizontality and sisterhood and an urgent look towards those we have silenced, ignored, and made vulnerable. For example: 968 femicides in 2022 and 769 in 2023, demonstrating the urgency of generating the necessary measures to prevent, correct, and punish femicidal violence, and to reeducate.

What are the other challenges, you ask? Let's tackle them!

They range from security issues, which have a directly proportional impact on feelings of well-being and happiness indexes, as well as being somatized in health issues such as depression and anxiety, through issues of ensuring the health of the population, access to decent housing, fair-paying jobs, access to education, healthy recreation, and a very long etcetera.

These are the pending issues in an agenda that stretches back to the beginning of that memorable revolution initiated by a handful of people in 1910 and which became the first popular revolution in the world — the agenda of those who have dreamed that we Mexicans could live in this horn of plenty that is our country with the right conditions to achieve the integral development of its more than 128 million inhabitants.

With a gross domestic product per capita of 11,496.52 dollars per year (approximately $183,944.32 pesos), it is clear that not everyone earns this amount, as 9.1 million people survive on less than what is needed to buy basic groceries. This illustrates the economic challenges facing the country, such as the need for economic growth of at least 4.5 percent of the GDP each year to guarantee the well-being of the population, according to experts.

It is also important to note the urgency with which the state and whoever is responsible — or elected — must generate an effective strategy in the fight against violence and, of course, demand that the relevant government agencies deliver the results that the population deserves.

It is scandalous that in Mexico, out of every 100 crimes committed, only 6.4 are reported and out of every 100 crimes reported, only 14 are solved, resulting in an impunity rate that completely undermines confidence in state institutions and their actions.

The above are just some of the challenges involved in being president of a nation that has a strategic geographic position in the world and at the same time is a transit territory for migrants from the south to the north, in search of the increasingly less promising American dream.

In her speech after the quick count, Sheinbaum said: “I did not get here by myself”, we have got here together, with our heroines who gave us a homeland, with our ancestors, our mothers, our daughters, and our granddaughters.”

What is already a reality is that we will have a W O M A N president, and this implies combining the views of women and a feminist agenda when she takes office in October, as a result of a historical debt whose resolution still seems very far away.

At the risk of exaggerating, and I can't help but hope that we will not be disappointed in our expectations. This is a historic moment that we hope will be memorable for all those women who didn't dare to dream of a moment like this in the 200 years since Mexico was born to freedom — and for all of us women who have come after and who not only dream of it but demand it as a guarantee of political participation under equal conditions.

1 comment

  • Dear Global Voices Team,

    I am so thrilled and happy to know that my article from Global Voices Latin America has been translated into English, so more beautiful pairs of eyes can read it and spread the conversation.
    I want to thank my editor Melissa Vida, Rowan Glass and every single member from #GlobalVoices involved into this.

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