One of my favorite features of Mexico City is the blank billboards. The ones for which no one has bought an ad. All that remains are quadrants of empty space, beautiful geometric shapes in shades of grey and beige that gain color from this city’s extraordinary evening skies.
But a lot has changed in el DF since I lived here nine years ago. The aeropuerto is all snazzed up, the pot-holed, lane-less road that led there is now smooth and manicured. And the billboards along the Periferico, the elevated beltway that circles the city, are very much in use.
My estimate is near half were political ads for candidates running in the upcoming election. And interestingly, a big chunk of those were ads for women running for office. Our taxi driver said he’ll be voting for Josefina Vasquez Mota, the candidate of the ruling party PAN. She's the first woman to run for President in Mexico with a major political party. The driver said he wants to see what she can do.
Later in the week I’m heading to Ciudad Juarez to talk to reporters who’ve been covering the drug war there. And I keep getting referred to women as sources – women reporters, women bloggers, women hip-hop activists. A journalist with El Diario de Juarez, one of the city’s main newspapers, said nearly half the reporters in the newsroom are women. I’ll get back to you about why.