The Mexican ruling Party, in a political landmark decision, elected the country's first woman presidential candidate. Josefina Vazquez Mota, a Mexican economist, businesswoman and consultant is the first woman to contest for the post of president from a major party in Mexico.
Josefina Vazquez Mota, who was also the former education minister, beat former finance minister Ernesto Cordero by 20 percent votes in the National Action Party's primary, according to a BBC report.
Vazquez Mota's achievement is revolutionary for the country's women because she is the first woman to overcome the gender bias that runs deep in the country's politics and culture. Vazquez Mota, 51, is a devout catholic and an icon of women's empowerment in the male dominated country.
In Mexico, women got their voting rights only in 1953 and the country's first woman Governor took office only in 1989, according to a Telegraph report. Women still don't figure in large numbers in top administrative posts in the country.
Vazquez Mota, from a middle class family, had to struggle against all odds to scale the heights in a male favored political system.
The women in Mexico are traditionally expected to stay at home and raise children after marriage. But Vazquez Mota, who married her childhood friend Sergio Ocampo Muñoz, defied the traditional bindings by choosing to work while raising her three children, according to the Telegraph report.
Vazquez Mota entered politics in 2000 when she was elected to the congress. Prior to it she worked as a columnist and an economic consultant.
Vazquez Mota and her achievement, in many ways, will appeal to the majority of Mexican women who are constantly forced to live in the male shadow.
The success of Vazquez Mota lies in the fact that even when defying the conservative and traditional bindings on her as a woman, she leveraged her experience as a working woman and a housewife to her advantage.
According to an LA Times report, when her rival Pena Nieto couldn't say how much a kilogram of tortillas cost, in an interview, he defended himself by saying he is not the lady of house. Vazquez Mota, when asked to comment on the issue said I am a woman, and as a woman I am a housewife, I am a government official, I've been twice a government secretary, I've been leader of a parliamentary group, I am an economist.
Vazquez Mota has won the initial challenge but she has an uphill task ahead as she has to fight two powerful candidates and current frontrunners for the post from two other Mexican major parties. She will be facing former Mexico State Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from the Democratic Revolution Party (PDR).
If Vazquez Mota wins the presidential election to be held on July 1, it would mark another revolution in the Mexican history. This would also lead to Mexico following in the footsteps of other Latin American countries like Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Costa Rica which recently elected women as their leaders.