Latin American History

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Which Mexican President granted women the right to vote?

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Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, who was in office from 1952-1958, was the President of Mexico who gave women the right to vote. Women's rights in Mexico had long lagged behind the progress that women had made in the United States and other countries. The movement for women's rights was concentrated among middle-class women in Mexico City, and it was difficult for the movement to gain traction in the rural areas of Mexico. In addition, women in Mexico had many domestic responsibilities and unpaid tasks that left less time for organized political movement, and the movement did not have the sophistication of the American suffrage movement, which won the right for women to vote in 1920 with the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

When Adolfo Ruiz Cortines was running for President in 1952, the Frente Unico Pro Derechos de la Mujer (FUPDM) (or United Front for Women‟s Rights), which was formed in 1923, gave their support to Ruiz in exchange for his support for women's suffrage in Mexico. The FUPDM's Alianza de Mujeres Mexicanas (Mexican Women's Alliance) got together 500,000 women's signatures supporting women's suffrage, and in exchange, Ruiz granted women the right to vote as part of federal elections in 1953. 

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Women did not get the right to vote in Mexico until much later than women in many other countries did.  Women in Mexico did not get the right to vote until the 1950s, specifically in 1953.  Since Mexico elects its presidents every 6 years, women did not get to vote in a presidential election until 1958.

In the US, it would not really be accurate to talk about a president giving women the right to vote.  But Mexican presidents (particularly in the past) have been much more powerful than American presidents.  Therefore, it is more appropriate to talk about a Mexican president giving women the right to vote.  The president who did so was Adolfo Ruiz Cortines.  He was president from 1952 to 1958.

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