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Updated Jun 5, 2024, 1:17pm EDT
North America
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Semafor Signals

Crisis of gender violence confronts Mexico’s first woman leader as female mayor gunned down

Insights from the Wilson Center, Le Monde, Justice in Mexico, Context News

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Claudia Sheinbaum
Reuters/Alexandre Meneghini
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The News

Mexico’s President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum is the country’s first female leader. When she officially takes office in October, a potential top priority on her agenda could be Mexico’s ongoing crisis of violence, particularly against women.

Women are better represented in Mexican politics now than at any time in living memory, thanks in part to a constitutional amendment that mandates gender parity in candidacy nominations. But some 10 women and girls are estimated to be killed every day in Mexico, many by their intimate partners or family members, according to government data. And on Tuesday, a Mexican mayor, Yolanda Sánchez of Cotija city, was killed by gunmen.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Mexico’s militarisation may be part of the problem

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Sources:  
The Wilson Center, The International Crisis Group

The militarization of public security under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — which Sheinbaum, as Obrador’s protege, may continue — has put women and girls in danger, The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute has argued. Women detained by the military are at risk of violence, and in particular, sexual violence: The military “have license to do whatever they want with you,” one woman from Zacatecas, a state in central Mexico, told The International Crisis Group.



Women and girls are targeted ‘with impunity’

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Sources:  
Human Rights Watch, NBC News , Justice in Mexico

In 2022, the Mexican government reported the killings of some 3,537 women, one-quarter of which were classified as femicide, or murders targeting women in particular, according to Human Rights Watch. Activists say femicides often fail to be recognized and prosecuted as such, or indeed at all: “These crimes continue to happen because there is impunity”, a family member of a murdered woman told NBC News in 2022. If convictions are sought, the potential punishments vary across Mexico’s 32 states, and there is no uniform definition of femicide, hampering the ability to tackle the problem nationwide, said Justice in Mexico.

Sheinbaum may be more sensitive to issues of gender-based violence - or not

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Sources:  
Le Monde, Axios, Context News

Sheinbaum’s predecessor López Obrador was dubbed “AmloMachisa”, or “sexist AMLO” by some critics, and he even suggested criticism of his leadership was a form of gender-based violence against men. But Sheinbaum represents a more modern and progressive left-wing than López Obrador, one political scientist told Le Monde. That she is also a woman could mean she is also more sensitive to gender-based violence, which might help “move the needle” on policies to protect women, a public policy analyst told Axios. But Sheinbaum’s presidential manifesto ultimately focused on issues that matter to men, a professor of gender and democracy told Context, perhaps in order to shore up more conservative support.



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