Mexican candidates jockey for the female vote

Presidential candidates in the upcoming Mexican election appeal to the single-mother vote.

Published June 23, 2006 8:15PM (EDT)

The upcoming July 2 Mexican presidential election has many female voters feeling particularly bipartisan, according to an article today in Women's eNews. For the many women who have seen their husbands and sons move to the U.S. in search of work to support themselves and their families, the ideal candidate is whoever can deliver homegrown jobs.

"The majority of men are in the United States because there are no sources of work here," Graciela Arciniega, a worker for the electoral institute in El Bothe, told eNews. "I've been knocking on doors to find voters and they're all women." In fact, women make up 51.8 percent of the Mexican electorate; there are 37 million women registered to vote, compared with 34.4 million men, according to Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute. And the candidates are all angling for the female vote, often through promises of a strengthened job market. But, as is often the case, the problem is in identifying the candidate who will actually deliver: "If I knew it for a certainty, I'd vote for [that candidate]," Maria de la Luz Garcia told eNews. "But which one is it? And how would he do it? And where is he?"

The major candidates are also all jockeying for the single-mother vote with promises of some sort of governmental assistance. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador -- running for the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution -- has promised to provide pensions for single mothers; Felipe Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, vowed "to support single mothers, who have a double or triple burden of responsibility"; and Roberto Madrazo, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, said he would offer job fellowships and improved salaries for single mothers.

Pollsters aren't focusing on how gender will impact the election, says Women's eNews, but if the candidates' focus on attracting female voters is any indication, it should be significant.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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