Mexico’s First Female President & the World’s 29th Female Head of Government

From Reuters, “‘for the first time in the 200 years of the republic I will become the first woman president of Mexico,’ Sheinbaum told supporters to loud cheers of ‘president, president.’”

Since 1960, 77 women have held the most powerful positions of executive power in 59 countries; 28 of those women served as the official Head of State or Head of Government for their country (UN Women). On June 3, Mexico made history by becoming the 60th UN Member State to elect a female as the head of government, making President Claudia Sheinbaum the first female president of Mexico and 29th woman to hold the head of government seat in world history. Not only did Sheinbaum win the presidency in a landslide with about 60% of the vote, but Reuters stated that this is “set to be the highest vote percentage in Mexico’s democratic history.”

Who is Claudia Sheinbaum?

Claudia Sheinbaum was born in Mexico City on June 24, 1962. She is the daughter of biologist and professor, Annie Pardo Cemo, and chemical engineer, Carlos Sheinbaum. She earned her Ph.D. in energy engineering from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico).

As a climate scientist and physicist, Sheinbaum worked in environmental policy serving as the Minister of the Environment for Mexico City. She also contributed to assessment reports for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, one of which helped the IPCC win the Nobel Peace Prize. 

During her time as mayor of Mexico City, her administration focused on waste management reform and began a reforestation program. She also took it upon herself to change the city’s subway system in order to invest in the modernization of currently-dilapidated infrastructure.

Now as president, Sheinbaum has called for the transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. Although President Sheinbaum is known for having similar ideological views as her predecessor, Former President López Obrador, she holds different views in regards to climate change and job creation. She remains true to many leftist ideals, believing that citizens have basic rights to healthcare, education, shelter, and jobs (Britannica).

Public Reactions

When being interviewed by a reporter from Reuters, Edelmira Montiel, a Sheinbaum supporter from Tlaxcala said, “I never imagined that one day I would vote for a woman. […] Before we couldn’t even vote, and when you could, it was to vote for the person your husband told you to vote for. Thank God that has changed and I get to live it.”

From Reuters, U.S. President Joe Biden responded to President Sheinbaum’s win stating, “I congratulate Claudia Sheinbaum on her historic election as the first woman President of Mexico. I look forward to working closely with President-elect Sheinbaum in the spirit of partnership and friendship that reflects the enduring bonds between our two countries.”

With recognition and praise from South America, “I am very happy with Sheinbaum’s victory—a progressive woman presiding over Mexico, a victory for democracy—and also for my great friend Lopez Obrador, who led an extraordinary government,” Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva said. “I plan to travel to Mexico this year to strengthen our trade relationships. We are the two largest economies in Latin America and could have a greater business flow.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted on X, “Congratulations to @Claudiashein on her convincing victory in Mexico’s presidential elections. I look forward to fruitful cooperation and the further strengthening of Ukrainian-Mexican relations. We are also confident that Mexico can play a significant role in global efforts to bring about just and lasting peace in Ukraine, as well as to restore the full force of the UN Charter globally.”

For the Future

According to Courthouse News, some of President Sheinbaum’s promises during her presidency include scholarships for basic education, better salaries for teachers, increases in minimum wage, harder crack-downs on crime including a five-pronged security plan, and a transition to renewable energy for the country.

President Claudia Sheinbaum’s symbolic rise to the highest position of power in Mexico demonstrates the progress of some countries towards gender equality in government, directly making strides to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5.5 Target that aims to “ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life” (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs). 

Although Mexico’s most recent election demonstrated a great feat towards global gender equality, many countries have yet to follow, including the United States, Spain, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands who have never had a female leader in the history of their existence. UN Women states, “women’s equal participation and leadership in political and public life are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.” But with the historical trends of women coming into power, the UN reports that gender equality in the highest positions of power may not be reached for another 130 years.

Now that Mexico has shown a country’s capacity to embrace female leadership, how can other nations do the same?

Written by Special Projects Intern, Amanda Nguyen


Clancy, Laura. “Fewer than a Third of UN Member States Have Ever Had a Woman Leader.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 28 Mar. 2023,,a%20Pew%20Research%20Center%20analysis.

“Facts and Figures: Women’s Leadership and Political Participation.” UN Women – Headquarters, 7 Mar. 2023,

“Goal 5 | Department of Economic and Social Affairs.” United Nations, United Nations, Accessed 12 June 2024.

Madry, Kylie, and Valentine Hilaire. “Mexico’s Sheinbaum Wins Landslide to Become Country’s First Woman President | Reuters.” Reuters, 3 June 2024,

Martin, Roland. “Claudia Sheinbaum.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 9 June 2024,

Savinar, William. “What Can Mexico Expect from a Sheinbaum Presidency?” Courthouse News Service, 7 June 2024,,north%20and%20southeast%20of%20the

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Looking Ahead: Argentina Under Milei

One Man’s “Chainsaw Plan”

On Nov. 19, 2023, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Javier Milei defeated Union For The Homeland candidate Sergio Massa in a runoff election for the Argentine presidency with 55.7% of votes, the highest for any candidate in the country’s history. The far-right self-proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist” led a campaign based on state reformation to address Argentina’s economic challenges, specifically its high inflation and debt. His “Chainsaw Plan” consisted of cutting public spending, halving the government’s ministries from 18 to nine, eliminating the central bank and selling state owned companies. Milei’s plans will demand pragmatic approaches. His party, La Libertad Avanza, has a minority in the senate with only seven of 72 positions and 38 of 157 deputies, forcing him to seek multi-party support. Since his inauguration, he has dropped some of his more drastic campaign messages, such as eliminating the central bank and switching from the peso to the United States dollar. Milei’s impact as Argentina’s president on the future of the country has yet to be determined.

Economic Shock 

Milei’s presidency comes at a time when Argentina is facing a severe economic crisis with inflation of 161%, a drought that is shrinking its agriculturally dependent economy, a heavily devalued currency, as well as $45 billion owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Milei’s austerity measures are anticipated to be helpful for Argentina’s economy in the long term, but are met with anxiety due to the short term shocks it will cause. Economic Minister of the Argentine Republic Luis Caputo announced on Dec. 12, 2023, that the government would be cutting subsidies for transportation and fuel, and the Argentine Peso would be devalued by over 50% from 391 pesos to a dollar, to 800 pesos. For Argentinians, this devaluation will increase the cost of living as imported goods will become more expensive due to the decreased purchasing power of the peso. However, this could benefit Argentina’s exports by making them more competitive in the global market and consequently stimulating its economy. This change was met with approval by the IMF for helping economic stability and laying a foundation for more private-sector driven growth.

International Implications

Prior to his presidency, Milei took hard stances on Argentina’s foreign policy. He promised to leave the Mercosur, a free trade area consisting of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. His administration’s foreign minister, Diana Mondino, however, has since reaffirmed the administration’s desire for Mercosur’s growth and the administration has contributed to negotiation attempts for a free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union.

For the U.S. and China, Milei’s presidency may indicate stronger U.S.-Argentine relations and more distant relations with China. While campaigning, Milei vocalized his alignment with the United States and Israel. For his first trip after the election, Milei met with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and highlighted his support for values of freedom. Milei’s sentiment of not wanting to “deal with communists,” throughout his campaign has insinuated a desire for reduced relations with China. On Dec. 19, China halted a $6.5 billion extension of the existing currency swap with Argentina’s previous president, Alberto Fernández. Argentina has benefitted from Chinese energy investment and consumption of Argentinian soybean and lithium exports. Additionally, despite receiving a letter from China’s President, Xi Jinping, Milei has halted plans for Argentina to join BRICS– an intergovernmental organization consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates. These actions could indicate more distant Chinese-Argentine relations in the future.

Written by Research & Development Intern, Eli Sepulveda

Photo credit: Rory Elliott Armstrong & Katy Dartford with Associated Press

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