Latin American feminism takes to the streets against gender violence and ultraconservative aggression

This March 8, thousands of women across Latin America took to the streets to demand equality and an end to all forms of violence against women. In a year when governments like Argentina’s Javier Meili and Salvadoran Nayib Bukele are leading a reactionary onslaught, the region’s feminist movements have called for mass protests to confront them. “The happy day will be when I don’t have to tell you that I have arrived safely,” says a poster of a teenager demonstrating in front of the Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires. The demand for effective policies against femicide has been one of the main demands in recent years. Legalizing abortion and equality at work – equal pay and job opportunities – and at home – equal distribution of cleaning and caregiving tasks – are part of the agenda of Latin American feminism.

In Argentina, this year’s mobilization became a protest against Miley and his accommodation policy. Protesters marched in front of Congress chanting, “Whoever doesn’t jump voted for Miley” to express their disapproval of the president, who took office on December 10. Cuts in public spending hit them particularly hard and exacerbate pre-existing inequality: of the poorest 10% of Argentina’s population, 63% are women; Only 37% of the richest 10%. Organizations such as the Latin American Justice and Gender Team condemn that cuts to key budget items for women in vulnerable situations “exacerbate a gender gap” that already exists.

Unlike other March 8s, the Argentine Congress was closed and dozens of riot police guaranteed that traffic would not be cut off. In a confrontational environment instigated by the government, the situation generated tense scenes between protesters, police and motorists.

Miley campaigned with anti-feminist speech, denying gender-based violence – despite 322 women being murdered in 2023 – and the pay gap between men and women, which stands at 25% according to official figures. As president, he moved from words to actions: he abolished the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity and ordered a ban on inclusive language and gender perspective throughout the public administration. This Friday, the government reported that the Women’s Hall of the Casa Rosada was renamed the Hall of the Heroes. It’s a symbolic decision, but one that is provoking anger just hours before the march.

Green scarves, popularized during the years of struggle to legalize voluntary interruption of pregnancy, were seen once again on wrists and purses this year. Huge banners hung in front of the Legislative Building warned, “We will never go underground again.” Since abortion became legal, maternal deaths have halved. Miley says abortion is a “murder by bondage” and should be criminalized. Her party has presented a project to repeal the current law and one of its representatives, Lilia Lemoine, has also proposed making it legal for men to renounce paternity.

“Caring is working”

The main artery of Santiago de Chile, the Alameda, has been painted green and purple from 6pm this Friday. A group of women, particularly young, very young women, have worn their feminist and pro-abortion scarves on a tour that has included visiting universities, libraries and cultural centres. Groups of protesters spread out on the steps of historic buildings to clap and cheer as they marched to the Los Heros metro, three kilometers south, from Plaza Baquedano, Santiago’s center of expression.

The atmosphere has become pleasant and calm. At first glance, there is a smaller crowd than 8-Ms held in recent years. Some people, who were not invited to the meeting, entered among those present. “Boyfriends (boyfriends) go home,” the protesters shouted in unison. She also sang the classic song “No Means No”. Which letter did you not understand? N or O?” Although the majority were students, mothers also came with babies a few months old or newborns, carrying them with bags or scarves over their shoulders. One of these groups, covering their faces with embroidered hoods as a symbol of protest for equality, created a choreography. As they danced with their young children, they were shouting: “Care, care, care is working!”

Physical autonomy in decision making, along with action against rapists, have been the demands that were most reiterated in elaborate posters and chants. The afternoon farewell in the city center was experienced as a true party. Disc jockeys at different venues have been playing music by the idols of the new generation of young people, such as Colombian Karol G and star Tyler Swift. Even the masks of the artists were sold on the streets. Alcoholic beverages, in addition, are quite elaborate compared to other types of performances. The offerings on the street ranged from Michelada to Mojito.

10,655 people murdered in Brazil in nine years

Hundreds of Brazilian women have come out to demonstrate in various cities at the call of progressive parties and the feminist movement in Brazil. The proclamations include ending gender violence, misogyny, decriminalizing abortion and this year a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Museums, cinemas, bars and restaurants have taken advantage of the celebration to offer special programming to female patrons. But it is also a day to remember that 10,655 Brazilian women have been victims of femicide since it was classified as a crime nine years ago. And it has been revealed that the delegation that Brazil will send to the Paris Olympic Games will have a majority of women.

Supreme Court President Luis Roberto Barroso has taken the opportunity to defend the legalization of pregnancy interruption, which is authorized in Brazil only in three cases. But, even in those cases, access is difficult, especially for the poorest. Barroso himself admits that the case is not suitable to be presented in court; Even less so for Congress, where the risk is that existing powers will be curtailed. The President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and First Lady Janja commemorated 8M at a lunch with ministers and officials at a restaurant run by a woman in Brasília. “I always say, don’t be complacent with what you’ve accomplished,” the president told guests.

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