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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El Salvador’s New President: Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez

Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez is the 43rd President of El Salvador and has recently been re-elected despite discussion of his re-election being unconstitutional. Prior to his time as President of El Salvador, Bukele served as Mayor of Nuevo Cuscatlan from 2012 to 2015 and then as Mayor of the capital of El Salvador. Nayib was expelled from his political party in 2017 and eventually formed his own political party: New Ideas. He ran for President in 2019, and won with a 53% vote. Bukele has made a name for himself at the international stage after implementing a plan to get rid of gangs and crime in El Salvador.

Bukele’s plan was implemented into phases and increasingly built up. Among a few of his phases was declaring prisons in a state of emergency after spikes in murder rates, territorial gain from gang territories, ‘mano dura’ (strong hand) policies, and crackdown of corruption within the government and police enforcement. Bukele’s actions drew notoriety from international human rights organizations after alarming reports of lack of due process of prisoners and treatment. Bukele targeted individuals boasting and fitting the profile of gang members; widespread gang tattoos over their bodies, namely around the face, head, chest, and back areas. Bukele in response said in 2022, “The focus is always on the rights of criminals, and for the vast majority of honest people? Nobody cares about their rights. In this country we spent thirty years being ridiculed, killed, raped, extorted, threatened, and living in fear, and no one said anything. But suddenly we grab them [criminals], and you have to consider the human rights of rapists. Yes, they have human rights, but the human rights of honorable people are most important.” 

Bukele’s crackdown on gang activity and crime decreased to 60% during his presidency in 2022, and further decreased in 2023 to 70%, the lowest homicide rate in any Latin American country. Bukele’s actions have brought a renewed sense of safety, stability, and security to many Salvadorans which has garnered him an impressive 90% approval rate among Salvadoran citizens. 

In late December 2023, Bukele announced he would be running for the 2024 Salvadoran General Election. Despite many Salvadoran citizens eager to have him as president once again, experts argued it was unconstitutional. Under the constitution in El Salvador re-election is prohibited under Article 154, in which it is stated that a President can only serve for five years. However, Bukele used a loophole under Article 155 that allowed him to step down from his presidency for the speaker of the assembly to take over as President in order for his term to not count completely. On February 4th, 2024, Nayib Bukele won the presidential election in a landslide vote.

Written by Events Intern, Diana Gonzalez

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