FEMICIDE IN ARGENTINA
If you check the news occasionally and don’t live under a rock, you’ll know that the feminist movement in America has continued to take the nation by storm. #MeToo singlehandedly shook the country, forcing people to level-up their respect for women. The Women’s Marches have involved hundreds of women and men speaking up about the many injustices against women. With all of this coverage, the media can make us feel like we’re in our own world sometimes, but it’s important to stay up to date on what’s happening outside of the U.S.
In Argentina, #NiUnaMenos is the most popular women’s rights movement. It originated in May 2015 after a murder report was released. Chiara Páez, a 14-year-old girl, was beaten to death by her boyfriend who buried her in his backyard.
According to The Culture Trip, a woman, including young girls, is killed in the country “somewhere between every 18 and 30 hours.” By November of last year, “245 women became victims of ‘femicide,’ defined as the murder of a woman simply because she is a woman,” The Culture Trip reported.
Following these annual statistics and the news of Páez, a revolution against femicide and promoting gender equality sparked. Now, protestors advocate for a variety of issues. The list ranges from legalizing abortion to guaranteed justice for women affected by violence to extensive gender and sex education and more.
Professor and author Tamara Tenenbaum knows what the recent rise in politics feels like living in Buenos Aires.
“I’ve worked with young activists all around the country who were doing incredible things like risking their lives to deliver condoms in gay clubs in towns where the police shut down those clubs literally every week,” Tenenbaum said. “Some activists were living with HIV and trying to raise awareness and fight discrimination by speaking about birth control and abortions with teenagers in very unprivileged settings.”
Tenenbaum said that the fight for equality stems from the roles society places on gender.
“The biggest problem is related to the lack of education and the values that are taught to children from an early age,” she said. “Here the boys are superheroes and girls are princesses. What can you expect from that?”
Denise Rey, a textile and User Experience designer and Women of Wearables ambassador from Buenos Aires, can relate to this. Throughout her career, she has created useful inventions such as an interface piggy bank while working for Globant. This software helps children learn to budget early on by allowing them to manage their money and set personal goals. This is important considering the country’s financial disparities. The gender pay gap in Argentina is 19 percent as of last year, according to a report by The Bubble.
“Women usually have lower salaries for the same jobs,” Rey said. “To reach a higher position, being a woman you need to have a lot of character and dedicate much more than a man. I know many cases of girls who were clearly better than their male coworkers and they were not promoted.”
Rey says that in any workforce, the power men have over the success of women is obvious. “I do not want to generalize, because there are many men who are respectful, and they understand that these things are not right and they promote gender equality,” she said. “But if we talk about percentages, there’s a lot.”
Violeta Rotstein, a graphic illustrator born in Bahia Blanca, said she makes it a point to represent her people throughout her art.
On the current movement, Rotstein said that the older generations are generally unsupportive of it. “The language I hear from their parents and grandparents is a familiar ‘they're being unrealistic’ sentiment,” she said. “Personally, I think they’re afraid of young people protesting because not that long ago people were being disappeared for being politically vocal. It's an understandable fear.”
Rotstein said that despite gleaning countless wisdom from her grandparents, the majority of elderly folks are stuck in their ways.
“Machismo energy is strong there, at times overwhelming,” she said. “It's mainly just tiring when people I care about don't understand when I explain the impact of their actions, but I appreciate that most people are very direct about their opinions.”
Luckily, even if they do not agree with her, she said she still feels the love.
There is no doubt that Argentina has one of the largest populations completely resisting political nonsense. Like we know here in America, revolting against misogyny can be exhausting. Fortunately, it’s comforting to know that we can create communities of people fighting for women’s rights across lands.