Olga Sánchez Cordero speaking during AMLO’s daily press conference. Photo: Facebook

By KELIN DILLON

For the first time in the history of Mexico, almost half of the federal government’s secretariats will now be headed by women.

The new cabinet of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) will consist of nine women and 10 men, the closest gender differential ever seen in a Mexican president’s cabinet.

The appointments break traditional gendered stereotypes, as women in Mexico have previously only been put in charge of education, culture and environmental sectors within a president’s cabinet. 

Some of the women in López Obrador’s cabinet have been given charge of the economic, energy and labor sectors, areas historically controlled by men.

Some of the women in López Obrador’s cabinet have been given charge of the economic, energy and labor sectors, areas historically controlled by men.

Six women were originally appointed to AMLO’s cabinet when he took office on Dec. 1, 2018.

López Obrador appointed Olga Sánchez Cordero as head of the Secretariat of the Interior (Segob) upon his inauguration. Sánchez Cordero previously served as a judge on Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), the highest court in the nation. Her nomination made history as the first woman ever to head Segob, which is the second most powerful position in the country outside of the presidency.

María Luisa Albores González joined AMLO’s cabinet as secretary of welfare in 2018, and was tapped back in September of 2020 to head the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semartnat) due to her education in agricultural engineering and prior work experience with indigenous farmers.

Luisa María Alcalde Luján also joined the cabinet in 2018 as it’s youngest member, when she was appointed the head of the Secretariat of Labor and Welfare (STPS). Irma Eréndira Sandoval Ballesteros was tapped the same year to head the Secretariat of Public Administration (SFP). 

López Obrador also chose Rocío Nahle García as head of the Secretariat of Energy (SENER) when his administration first assumed office. Nahle García previously worked as a chemical engineer with a degree in petrochemistry, and gained experience in the energy sector while working for Pemex. She also formerly served as a member of congress (and eventually senator) for Veracruz prior to her cabinet appointment.

Alejandra Frausto Guerrero worked with AMLO back in 2006 during his term as mayor of Mexico City, when she worked as a coordinator within the capital’s Secretariat of Culture. Under López Obrador’s assumption of the presidency, Frausto Guerrero became head of the Mexican federal government’s Secretariat of Culture.

López Obrador expanded the original influence of women in his cabinet in September 2020, when he appointed Rosa Icela Rodríguez, former secretary for Mexico City’s government under another woman, Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, as head of the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC). She likewise worked under AMLO when he was mayor of Mexico City. Rodríguez is the first woman in Mexico’s history to head the nation’s security.

AMLO continued to narrow the gender gap in December 2020 when he nominated Tatiana Clouthier Carillo to replace Graciela Márquez Colín as head of the Secretariat of Economy and nominated Delfina Gómez Álvarez as head of the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP).

Mexico has struggled as a country in terms of it’s treatment of women, as femicides have reached new heights in the nation in recent years.

Mexico has struggled as a country in terms of it’s treatment of women, as femicides have reached new heights in the nation in recent years.

AMLO has come under fire for downplaying the struggles of Mexican women,  even going so far as to claim that “90 percent of calls to domestic abuse hotlines are fake.” 

Érika Guevara Rosas, director of Amnesty International in the Americas, told El Universal on Wednesday, Jan. 6, that it was “very worrying” how AMLO had “multiple times minimized the very serious crisis of violence in gender that exists in the country.”

“We have a patriarchal system and, of course, there is machismo and in that sense, we have to recognize that there is violence on many occasions against women,” Sánchez Cordero said back in May of 2020. Three new female members were added to the cabinet after her statement.

Now that there are more women in the president’s cabinet than ever before, hopefully their voices, as well as the plights everyday Mexican women face, will be heard more clearly.

…Jan. 7, 2021

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