Women vote for the first time in Mexico in 1955. Photo: Courtesy

Friday is the 65th anniversary of a major advance for equal rights in Mexico. The federal election of July 3, 1955 was first in which women were allowed to cast a vote.

Women throughout the country are remembering this historic day.

“What we have advanced is not a concession, it is a conquest achieved thanks to the organization, participation and mobilization of women demanding respect for their rights,” said Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum.

The head of Mexico’s supreme court also heralded the occasion.

“65 years ago, women voted for the first time in Mexico,” said the president of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Arturo Zaldívar. “It was the beginning of a long road to equality. Much remains to be done. It is urgent to speed up the pace. A just Mexico requires substantive equality between women and men. It is a matter of democracy and rights.”

A law allowing women to vote was approved on Oct. 17, 1953 but it wasn’t until nearly two years later that the measure was pushed into action.

Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, who was president from 1952 to 1958, granted the expansion of voting rights.

When Ruiz Cortines ran for president, the United Front for Women’s Rights endorsed him in exchange for his support for women’s suffrage in Mexico.

Women’s rights in Mexico had long lagged behind other countries. The United States codified equal rights at the ballot box 33 years earlier. New Zealand was the first to allow women to vote, back in 1893.

France, Japan and India allowed women to vote in the 1940s. In Canada, 1918 legislation expanded suffrage to female citizens, but excluded Asian-Canadian women and First Nation women until the 1940s and 1960, respectively.