‘The Disappeared’: Can Mexico’s New Female President Make Women Safe?

    by Sidney Hunt
    Published: June 4, 2024 (2 weeks ago)

    As María Hernández takes office as Mexico’s first female president, she inherits a nation grappling with a crisis of gender-based violence and the haunting phenomenon of “the disappeared” – women who vanish without a trace. With her historic election victory comes a profound question: Can President Hernández make Mexico safe for women?

    A National Crisis

    The issue of missing women, or “desaparecidas,” has plagued Mexico for years, with thousands of cases reported annually. Women of all ages and backgrounds fall victim to abduction, often linked to organized crime, human trafficking, and systemic impunity. The problem has reached such alarming levels that it has drawn international condemnation and demands for urgent action.

    Hernández’s Commitment

    During her campaign, Hernández made bold promises to address gender violence and the crisis of the disappeared. Her platform included increasing funding for women’s shelters, enhancing law enforcement training on gender-based violence, and creating a national database for tracking missing persons. She has also pledged to reform the judicial system to ensure that crimes against women are investigated and prosecuted more effectively.

    In her inauguration speech, Hernández declared, “The safety and dignity of every woman in Mexico is a fundamental right. We will not rest until our streets, homes, and workplaces are safe for all.”

    Immediate Actions

    Within her first days in office, Hernández has initiated several measures aimed at tackling the crisis head-on:

    1. Establishment of a Special Task Force: A specialized task force has been created to focus on cases of missing women, comprising experienced investigators, forensic experts, and victim support counselors.
    2. Expansion of Safe Spaces: Funding has been allocated to increase the number of shelters and support centers for women fleeing violence, ensuring they have safe havens and access to necessary services.
    3. Public Awareness Campaigns: Nationwide campaigns are being launched to raise awareness about gender violence and the resources available to women, encouraging community vigilance and support.

    Challenges Ahead

    Despite these proactive steps, President Hernández faces significant challenges. Corruption within law enforcement and the judiciary often hampers efforts to address gender violence. Many cases of missing women remain unsolved due to insufficient investigative resources and a lack of political will.

    Moreover, the pervasive influence of organized crime presents a formidable obstacle. Criminal networks involved in human trafficking and drug trade often operate with impunity, exploiting systemic weaknesses and targeting vulnerable women.

    Voices of Hope

    Women’s rights activists and organizations cautiously express optimism about Hernández’s potential to effect meaningful change. Maria Salazar, director of a leading women’s advocacy group, remarked, “Having a female president who prioritizes our safety is a monumental step. However, real change will require sustained effort and collaboration across all levels of government and society.”

    Survivors of gender violence also find hope in Hernández’s presidency. Carla, a survivor who now works as an advocate, shared, “For the first time, I feel like our voices are being heard at the highest level. We need to support our president and hold her accountable to her promises.”

    International Perspective

    The international community watches closely, with human rights organizations urging Hernández to adhere to international standards in her approach to gender violence. The United Nations has offered support and expertise to help Mexico build robust systems for protecting women and prosecuting offenders.


    President María Hernández stands at a pivotal moment in Mexico’s history, with the potential to transform the safety and rights of women in the country. Her commitment to addressing the crisis of the disappeared and ensuring women’s safety is a beacon of hope for many. Yet, the road ahead is fraught with challenges that will require unwavering determination, comprehensive reforms, and collective societal effort. The world will be watching as she endeavors to make Mexico a safer place for all women.