On 8 March 2019, women joined together from all over Buenos Aires and marched for their rights. The march not only celebrated what women have achieved so far, but protested against the injustice that prevails in Argentina.
Thousands of women walked in unison from Congreso de la Nación to Avenida de Mayo, and many held strikes across the city, to protest for the likes of equal pay, gender equality and the right to abortion.
Unfortunately, 20 women were arrested in the process of one manifestation outside the Cathedral, where women from a feminist group, that is considered more radical, threw glass bottles and rocks at the church and set fire to the perimeters. They chanted “Iglesia, basura, vos sos la dictura,” (Church, trash, you are the dictatorship). Police reacted with gunshots to the sky, tear gas, and violence towards the women whilst detaining them. There have been reports from women that the police threatened to break their bones if they resisted, along with bruises and scratches on their bodies.
The results of this protest are not abnormal; women’s protests have seen much reaction from the police over the years of women’s rise in power. Currently, in Argentina, women have become more strong and powerful as ever before. Their power is a threat to the misogynistic society that the church and government normalises across the country.
Women across Argentina wear neckerchiefs of various colours to represent their manifestations. Purple is the colour of feminism, promoting a stop to domestic violence against women which purports to one death every 29 hours, as recorded by non-for-profit organisation ‘Ni Una Menos’. A green neckerchief represents the fight for legalising abortion. At the moment, a woman in Argentina can only have an abortion if her life is considerably at risk or if she is disabled and has been raped. The Guardian recently reported an 11 year old girl forced to give birth after being raped by her grandmother’s 65 year old partner. Authorities ignored her plea, and protesters’ manifestations, to “remove what the old man put inside me,” as quoted from her interview with The Guardian. Many back-street abortions cause deaths in the mothers, along with many women giving the children up for adoption afterwards, leaving them with no family.
Despite Argentina ranking 34th out of 114 countries economically, the pay gap sits at 30%, whereas in the UK it has dropped to 8.6%, as recorded by the Office for National Statistics UK. For the common European, the injustice in Argentina may come as a surprise. Although Argentina is famous for their culture and landscapes, their inequality is becoming more and more famous thanks to the strength of the women standing up for their rights.
These are only a few of the facts and figures outlining the injustices in the country at the moment for women, many Europeans do not encounter these struggles or know they exist so harshly in Argentina. Unfortunately, many men in the country are not educated on the struggles women face.
Strength be to the women fighting for their rights. May they continue to succeed and build their power.