YEAR OF THE WOMAN?

YEAR OF THE WOMAN?

The underreported story of Mexico’s July 1 elections is a huge political victory for the country’s women. A look at the facts:


  • In the next congress, women will make up 47.8 percent of the lower house, 49.2 percent of the senate, and at least 50 percent of most state legislatures.
  • The former job of newly elected President Andrés Manuel López Obrador—Mexico City mayor—will be held by a woman (Claudia Sheinbaum, pictured above).
  • Mexico’s lower house will have the world’s fourth-largest female legislative representation.
  • Mexico’s Senate will have the world’s second-largest female representation after Belgium.

This breakthrough has been a long time coming. For 15 years, Mexico has had mandatory quotas that require each political party to include a set percentage of women among its candidates for office. The required percentage has increased over time, but Mexican women have long complained that female candidates lacked critical support from their parties. Pressure for change has now produced a positive result.

But that’s not true in Brazil, where female participation in politics remains a source of national embarrassment. That might surprise you, given that Brazil’s most recent president was a woman. (Dilma Rousseff was impeached as part of the still-growing Lava Jato corruption scandal.) A look at the facts:

  • Women make up a little over 10 percent of the lower house and just under 15 percent of the Senate.
  • Just one of 29 members of President Michel Temer’s cabinet is a woman.
  • Of 16,131 candidates who won zero votes in Brazil’s 2016 municipal elections, 14,417 were women.
  • The country ranks 154th in world in female representation in the national legislature.

It’s not enough for a political party to put a woman’s name on the ballot. She must have the same financial and political backing from the party that male candidates receive. She must be allowed to compete in a district her party can win. At a minimum, she must be informed in advance that she’s a candidate. There have been multiple cases where Brazilian women have discovered their names on a ballot without having agreed to run.

The bottom line: No one knows how female lawmakers will change politics and policy, but only in countries where political parties genuinely want women to participate are we likely to find out.​​

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Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at the deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus, Delta variant woes, and Lebanon one year after the Beirut blast.

An Olympian refuses to return home to Belarus and an anti-Lukashenko activist has been found dead in Ukraine. What's going on?

Yeah. That anti-Lukashenko activist was found hanged in a park in Kiev. Once again, not exactly likely a suicide. These anti-Lukashenko activists have a way of turning up injured or dead. It's a horrible regime. Their friends are limited largely to the Russians. That's about it. The economic pressure is growing from Europe, from the United States, very coordinated. But the problem is a very hard to do much to Lukashenko when he has not only support of his military, but also the support of most of the workers in the country who aren't prepared to strike because they want to ensure they still have jobs. I expect this is going to continue, but human rights abuses are stacking up. It is nice to see that the Americans and the Europeans are coordinating policy as well as they have been.

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It's been 365 days since twin blasts at a Beirut port decimated Lebanon's capital. More than 200 people were killed and some 7,000 were injured, yet accountability has been scarce. There is ample evidence that multiple Lebanese officials knew that ammonium nitrate was being improperly stored at the port. Four high-ranking politicians, including former PM Hassan Diab, have been charged by a Lebanese judge, but they all refuse to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Since then, Lebanon's already-dire economic and financial crises have only intensified. The Lebanese pound, the national currency, has plummeted, losing 90 percent of its value since 2019, when the country's economic crisis erupted. And more than 50 percent of the population is now living below the poverty line.

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The Biden administration is finally devoting more attention to Southeast Asia. Last week US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled to Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines, marking the first regional visit by a Biden cabinet official. A trip by Vice President Kamala Harris is already in the works as well, and this week Secretary of State Tony Blinken will meet (virtually) with ASEAN counterparts.

The flurry of activity comes after earlier concerns that President Joe Biden was neglecting Southeast Asia, the region where US-China rivalry is the most intense. To understand better what Austin's visit meant, and what comes next, Eurasia Group's lead Southeast Asia analyst Peter Mumford spoke to us from Singapore.

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Raisi won't have it easy: The newly "elected" president of Iran, Ibrahim Raisi, was officially endorsed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Tuesday. In his inaugural address, the 60-year-old hardliner pledged to get US sanctions removed and to respond to rising socioeconomic grievances within Iran, but he warned that he wouldn't lash Iran's prosperity or survival to "the will of foreigners." In Iran, the president's role focuses mainly on domestic policy, but with the economy reeling one of Raisi's big early challenges will be to continue complicated talks with the Biden administration to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal, which would lead to the US lifting some of the harshest sanctions. Both sides say they want a new deal, and have gone through half a dozen rounds of negotiations already, but they remain at odds over who should make what concessions first. Raisi also pledged to restore Iranians' flagging trust in their government and to improve the economic situation, but in ways that are in line with "revolutionary principles." He'll have his hands full with that. And don't forget that the likely imminent (re)takeover of neighboring Afghanistan by the Taliban — whom Tehran don't like at all — will also occur on Raisi's watch. Good luck, Mr. President, you'll need it.

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158: To boost vaccination rates, New York City will soon require proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test to enter gyms and restaurants, as daily new infections in the Big Apple have jumped 158 percent over the past two weeks due to the more contagious delta variant. New York is the first major US city to take this step, following similar schemes already in place in France and Italy.

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