Chapter 3
CÁRDENAS, CHAMPION OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS

WHEN LÁZARO CÁRDENAS resigned as Minister of War in the spring of 1933 to seek nomination as presidential candidate of the PNR, he had not allied himself with the campaign for woman suffrage. Cárdenas had served a term as governor of the state of Michoacán, a brief period as president of the National Executive Committee of the PNR, and held the post of Minister of War in the cabinet of Provisional President Ortiz Rubio. In none of these positions had he demonstrated any unusual interest in feminine rights.1 A number of other Mexican politicians, however, had expressed an interest in the issue as a means of promoting their own ambitions. Outstanding among these was General Francisco J. Múgica, a leading radical in the 1916-1917 Constitutional Congress, whose wife, Matilde Rodríguez Cabo, was prominent in Mexican feminist circles. General Múgica, also a native of Michoacán and close personal friend of Cárdenas, may have had some influence in impressing Cárdenas with the importance of women's rights as a campaign issue.

The national convention of the PNR which met at Querétaro in December, 1933, accompanied by so much celebrating that at times it took on the air of a fiesta, adopted the first Six-Year Plan and nominated Cárdenas as its presidential candidate with the grudging consent of Calles.2 The Plan itself, regarded by some as Calles' statement of policy which he intended to impose upon the Cárdenas administration, ignored the subject of women's rights.3 Cárdenas, apparently still unsure of himself and not certain how popular an issue woman suffrage would be, restricted his remarks on the subject to a few cautious statements in his speech to the convention on December 6.

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