Transitioning from descriptive to substantive representation : a study of the Mexican Congress
Vidal Correa, Fernanda
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The increasing number of women in the Mexican Congress could lead us to expect that women's interests are being better represented. However, there is no sufficient recent evidence on a correlation between a more robust descriptive representation and women's substantive representation in Mexico. Has the increase in the number of women led to greater focus on women's issues? Are the contents of bills sponsored in fact representing women? The objective of this paper is to address the links between women's increasing descriptive representation and the substantive representation of this group. To this end, a sample of legislative bills of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, authored between 2015 and 2019, are assessed. Evidence points towards a change in the legislative work, embracing women's issues, as more women are elected. Issues raised include those related to gender violence, including various forms of classification of crimes. They also highlight the reforms that push parity in the composition of various governing bodies, including the Supreme Court of Justice. Legislation is pushing to close the gender pay gap, and to mandate government institutions to include a gender perspective in all of their processes. But even if the substantive representation of some types of women has improved, major breakthroughs through legislation are seldom achieved due to conservative conceptualizations of women's roles. © 2020 Institute of Political Studies. All rights reserved.