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  • Mexicans go to the polls on Sunday in an historic election.

  • Both the frontrunner, the former mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, and the main challenger are women, meaning Mexico is almost certain to choose its first woman president.

  • But what impact will that have in a nation with deeply embedded problems of machismo and sexual violence against women and girls?

  • Our Mexico correspondent, Will Grant, reports from the campaign trail in the eastern state of Veracruz.

  • Claudia Sheinbaum is so close to making history in Mexico, she can almost touch it.

  • Polls suggest she's on the verge of becoming Mexico's first woman president.

  • Her nearest rival, also a woman, she told the BBC it's a sign Mexican society is evolving.

  • It's a symbol for Mexico.

  • I think it's a symbol for the world, but it's a symbol for Mexico.

  • I see it in young girls.

  • They are excited that a woman is going to be president.

  • And it changed culture for women and for men.

  • And you have to develop policies to reduce violence for women.

  • In Mexico, that's easier said than done.

  • But the former mayor of Mexico City is confident of victory, promising to continue the popular social development policies of her mentor, President Andres Manuelpez Obrador.

  • Other nations in Latin America have had women presidents in the past.

  • Brazil, Chile and Argentina, for example.

  • But there's something about the ingrained machismo in Mexican society, particularly these rural indigenous communities, that makes this election so historic.

  • Few know how hard it is to break that culture better than the members of Femme Café, a women's coffee cooperative in Veracruz.

  • In most Mexican agricultural co-ops, women aren't allowed to vote or hold decision-making roles.

  • But in Femme Café, they control the entire enterprise, from bean to cup.

  • And they had some advice for the next president.

  • It's not just about being a woman, but about being gender conscious, which is a very different thing.

  • For example, the agricultural ministry has never been led by a woman.

  • And a woman's perspective in that role would make a huge difference to the rural sector.

  • The BBC requested an interview with her closest rival, Sochi Galvez, but she declined.

  • Like most critics, she accuses Claudia Sheinbaum of being a mere puppet of Mrpez Obrador, something the former environmental scientist firmly denies.

  • I feel sure about myself.

  • I don't care about these things that they say.

  • Of course I'm of the same movement withpez Obrador.

  • We fought together for 20 years, or more than 20 years, to have the government that we have now and the opportunity for Mexican people and the right for Mexican people, the rights.

  • And, of course, I'm going to live a different time in history.

  • A woman president in Mexico is hugely significant and long overdue.

  • Yet the biggest challenge still lies ahead, in undoing centuries of sexism and gender inequality in one of the most patriarchal societies in the Americas.

  • Will Grant, BBC News, Veracruz, Mexico.

Mexicans go to the polls on Sunday in an historic election.

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