Estela and María, the primary girls to vote who will now elect the primary president in Mexico | Mexican elections 2024 | EUROtoday

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Natalia Zsendro considers that Estela Mujica, her grandmother, was an activist for girls's rights throughout her youth. She, 87 years outdated, differs. Perhaps she, slightly, she was an uncommon lady for the time. She was 16 years outdated in 1953. She was initially from Oaxaca, however she grew up within the Santiago Valley, in Guanajuato, earlier than shifting to the capital. Everything within the Federal District amazed him. When she realized that the then president of Mexico, Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, was going to be current on the Palace of Fine Arts, simply fascinated by the place made her really feel anxious. “Coming from a small town that really was impressive, a palace, right? in addition to the president,” she states.

Estela Mujica in her home south of Mexico City.
Estela Mujica in her dwelling south of Mexico City.Ana Chirino

Remember that within the Bellas Artes auditorium there have been solely girls as a result of, in spite of everything, they have been the recipients of the promulgation that may happen that October 17, 1953. It was a date for historical past, because the constitutional reforms have been made to that girls would get pleasure from full citizenship, with the popularity of the proper to vote in all elections on equal phrases with males, with none discrimination.

“Yes, I was very excited to see the entire group of women there, as if to say, we are already here, we are already recognized. I felt very moved, because I said, why didn't we have the right? Why were we limited? There was a lack of education for women, rather, I would say that it was buried,” Mujica recalls 70 years later, sitting in front of a large bookshelf, in which the bibliographic relics that make up her library specialized in economics stand out, in the living room of her house. in Mexico City.

The new text of Constitutional Article 34 was published in the Official Gazette: “Citizens of the Republic are men and women who, having the status of Mexicans, also meet the following requirements: having reached the age of 18, being married, or 21 if they are not, and have an honest way of living.”

The decade of the fifties in Mexico was characterized by being traditional, optimistic and of great progress. Companies like General Motors and Chrysler came to the country to manufacture vehicles. Coca-Cola began to be sold by all businesses. The Latin American Tower was the largest building in the Republic. Industrialization had arrived and the economy was beginning to grow, causing people to leave the countryside to move to the city. This is what happened to Mujica's family, when they left Guanajuato in search of better opportunities.

He says that his father, at that time, was a “very advanced” person. He believed that if they stayed in Valle de Santiago, the future of his daughters was going to be terrible. That's why he wanted both of them, the oldest of six siblings, to study. He knew that the only distraction for the men who stayed in town was to live in the cantina. And her father was “very graphic” in his warning: “There are no men here. You have to study so that you are self-sufficient. Because if they stay here, if they have to get married, they will undress drunk or they will have to go to church and dress as saints.”

Estela Mujica at her house, on May 7.
Estela Mujica at her house, on May 7.Ana Chirino

After that memory he takes a breath. Her eyes crystallize and she gently pats her neck to contain her emotion as she remembers her father. She fixes her pearl necklace and adjusts her silver pendant. She runs her hands to straighten her red blouse and continues. She says that while her sister was attending university, she worked as a secretary and attended high school at UNAM. They were a large family with few resources, so she had to help support the home.

A misogynistic and sexist society

Mujica feels that her family was an exception within the fabric of that time, since most parents had no interest in their daughters doing more. “Many said that knowing how to read and write was enough,” she recalls the rigidity with which men exercised that power first with their wives and then with their daughters. The children had another condition.

Different specialists explain that some members of political parties, such as those of the National Action Party, stated that it was not useful to recognize women's right to vote, since if their husbands or fathers voted, as heads of the family, then it was assumed that everyone Those who were part of that nucleus opted for the same political choice.

And this type of thinking was also a reflection in university life. Mujica began studying economics at the UNAM in 1955 and still remembers the rejection that existed towards women, with misogynistic teachers and some classmates who questioned what they were doing there. However, it was that year, on July 3, when women in Mexico were able to exercise their right to vote for the first time in a federal election. In this electoral event they went to the polls to elect federal deputies for the XLIII Legislature.

According to III Government Report, of September 1, 1955, by Ruiz Cortines, the Federal Electoral Commission registered 5 million men and 4 million women. The then president of Mexico told the Congress of the Union that the votes cast reached very close to 70% of registered citizens.

“Mexican citizenship was almost doubled by the female contingent who went first to the registration offices and then to the polling stations with the commitment and interest of someone who understands the significance and scope of their intervention in national public life, the valuable meaning of their citizen category,” said Ruiz Cortines in a fragment of a quote that appears in the document.

Not yet being 21 years old and not married as indicated in the constitutional reform, Mujica was not able to exercise her vote on that occasion. When she was able to vote in the next presidential elections, in 1958, she did so with “little choice” and “for the party that existed,” which was the PRI. She says of Adolfo López Mateos, who became president that year, that he was a “pleasant candidate.” “Of course I would have wanted to vote. [en 1955]. We already had the right, but it was still restricted,” she explains, who became an economist and worked for 33 years for Nacional Financiera until she became deputy director of relations with Latin America.

“Before it was obeyed to the letter”

María Luisa Torres was also present at that time. Her father always changed her name. She called her Soledad, that's why now everyone who knows her calls her cholita or doña cholita, out of affection. She is 95 years old and she was able to cast her vote in 1955 at the age of 27. At that time she lived in the Tacuba neighborhood, in the Federal District. She now lives in Querétaro, in her house with one of her children. He says that it is difficult for him to remember, but as he begins to talk about the time and begins to see the photos of his youth, his memory activates and he is even able to name his school in Santa María Mazatla, in the State of Mexico, and the name of his teacher: “Escuela Francisco Figueroa” and “teacher Consuelo Pacheco”, he answers slowly, but surely.

María Luisa Torres rests in her room, in Querétaro.
María Luisa Torres rests in her room, in Querétaro.Nayeli Cruz

From her corner at home, where she spends her time knitting, drinking “her coquita” (Coca-Cola) to her heart's content, with the book The queen of the south At a small table on the side—a work that she admits she “likes”—she says that after finishing high school, where she specialized in commerce and accounting, she began working as a secretary in a factory of the renowned swimsuit brand Catalina. She liked her job, but when she got married at 21 she had to abandon it as well as her desire to study to become a teacher and dedicate herself to being a housewife. “They appreciated me a lot in my company, my boss, my colleagues. My husband did not want me to work and since before it was obeyed to the letter, I no longer worked,” she says.

Her husband worked as a bus driver and since he had contacts in the Government, he once had to be the driver for former President Luis Echevarría at official events during his mandate; or transporting Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the port of Veracruz with her husband, Duke Philip of Edinburgh, when they arrived in Mexico in 1975. She still preserves a newspaper clipping with a photo of the three . However, she was the one who managed the finances of the house, she admits, which allowed her to build two houses that still remain on her property. She also helped herself by sewing gloves for ladies who were sent from the United States, a position she earned because “the other ladies sewed badly.”

A newspaper clipping, where María Luisa Torres' husband is seen driving during Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Mexico.
A newspaper clipping, where María Luisa Torres' husband is seen driving during Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Mexico.Nayeli Cruz

“Everything my husband earned I took from him, I didn't leave him anything. He liked… [hace una seña con su mano como de bebida alcohólica], but before I took it away. She almost scrutinized him so that he wouldn't be left with anything,” she recalls mischievously and smiling. She says that society was sexist, but that her husband never interfered with her right to vote or imposed any candidate on her. “That day I was very happy, because they had already given us women the vote. They had us relegated and it started to be different. We could already do many things that only gentlemen could do,” she adds.

First president of Mexico

Since then he has not missed any electoral appointment. In the previous elections he says that he voted for Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Her granddaughters even have a video of her as evidence because one of her sons doesn't want to admit it. Doña Cholita says that she has been disconnected lately because her portable radio, on which she always listened to the news to stay informed, does not pick up the signal well in her corner of her home. She is tight-lipped about who she will vote for, but she seems to already secretly know, although she claims that in recent weeks she has been “evaluating the candidates.”

“Right now there is more equality, but not enough. There have been women who are truly better than men and they have never been given any position. I hope whoever comes out really does something,” says Torres.

For her part, Estela Mujica is more than clear about it. “I am very excited to think about the first president of Mexico, because she is like the culmination of a journey. And because it's not a piece of cake. She has earned it. She is a prepared woman who thinks about the country. “I voted for López Obrador and I plan to vote for Claudia Sheinbaum,” she says.

María Luisa Torres goes up to her room assisted by a caregiver.
María Luisa Torres goes up to her room assisted by a caregiver.Nayeli Cruz

He also has no comments for the candidate . However, with everything she has experienced, she urges whoever she can to not stop going to vote. “I think the worst thing we can do is not vote. We have not managed as women to have the weight we should yet. Women need to prepare more and be more aware of their rights and fight for them,” she adds.

Although he believes that the country has made important progress, he considers that machismo is still “still very strong” due to the lack of education. “Many men are not going to vote for her.” [Sheinbaum] just because she is a woman,” she reflects and ends with advice for the candidate who she hopes will emerge victorious on Sunday, June 2: “She cannot govern alone. She has to open the spectrum. Look for the best in each discipline, who do not always have to be from the same party. “I’d advise you to be surrounded by the most effective capability there’s on this nation.”

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