Glass ceiling

Mexico will soon have a woman leading every branch of government

The two female candidates for next year's presidential election are locked in

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Claudia Sheinbaum, one of the two candidates, is a close ally of current president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Claudia Sheinbaum, one of the two candidates, is a close ally of current president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Photo: Luis Cortes (Reuters)

Mexico will have its first female president next year, after former Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum won the nomination of the ruling Morena Party earlier this week. She will face the opposition party’s candidate Xóchitl Gálvez in a general election next June.

Sheinbaum, a physicist who has published two books about sustainable development and renewable energy sources, is a left-wing ally to the current president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. If elected, she would be Mexico’s first Jewish president.


Galvez, who is part of Mexico’s indigenous Otomi community, was nominated by the country’s largest conservative party, and was previously an engineer and tech entrepreneur before being elected mayor of Mexico City’s Miguel Hidalgo borough.

No matter the contest’s outcome, the election will place Mexico in a unique position: all three branches of the country’s government will be led by women. The supreme court is led by president Norma Lucía Piña Hernández—who legalized abortion last week—while both house the upper and lower houses of congress are led by Ana Lilia Rivera and Marcela Guerra Castillo respectively.


This triad of female representation extremely uncommon for any country, and less than 25 countries across the globe currently have a female at the helm. Lithuania has a female prime minister, supreme court president, and head of parliament, although their president—mostly responsible for the country’s foreign affairs—is a man. Bangladesh has a female prime minister and a female-led congress, but its supreme court is led by a man

Which countries have the most women in government?

This situation is less of an anomaly in Mexico, which—according to an analysis of gender equality in parliaments—has more women in its parliament than men, despite only achieving women’s suffrage in 1953.

In fact, the US’s neighbor to the South is the fourth-ranked country in the world for gender equality in public office. The US is ranked 71st, with women making up less than a third of the House of Representatives and a quarter of the Senate.

The rest of the analysis shows the lack of a clear geographic trend. The top 10 ranked include countries from every continent other than South America, including Costa Rica, Iceland, New Zealand, Rwanda, and the UAE. The first country in South America represented is Argentina at position 17.


Less than 25 countries are led by women


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