Above Photo: “The future is feminist,” reads the banner. Junior Lima via Brasil de Fato.
From Argentina to Mexico, millions of women and gender-diverse people took to the streets to demand equal rights in the most unequal region of the world.
This March 8, on the International Women’s Day, millions of women across Latin America and the Caribbean took to the streets to protest against patriarchy in all its forms and manifestations and demand equal rights in all spheres of life. From Argentina to Mexico, women and gender-diverse people demonstrated against gender inequality, gender based violence, femicides, transvesticides as well as the neoliberal economic policies that worsen hunger and poverty in the region.
In Argentina, women and gender-diverse people participated in a national strike, organized for the seventh consecutive year, and mobilized throughout the country demanding an end to gender discrimination and violence against women and members of the LGBTQI+ community. According to official data, in Argentina, a woman or a diverse-gender person is murdered every 29 hours. According to the La Casa del Encuentro organization, between January 1 and February 28, 2023, 56 women were murdered for the simple fact of being a woman.
The feminist movements and women’s rights organizations such as the Ni Una Menos collective also rejected the country’s debt with the IMF, stating that its repayment is preventing the growth of women, diverse-gender people and children due to the decrease in the state’s social policies. They stressed that “the country’s historical economic debt is with women and diverse-gender people, not the IMF.”
They also demanded the reform of the justice system in the country, pointing out it discriminates against women and LGBTQI+ minorities. They argued that the system is patriarchal and inefficient when it comes to providing responses in terms of protection and justice to victims of gender based violence.
In the capital Buenos Aires, tens of thousands marched to the National Congress in Plaza de Mayo, raising slogans such as “We want to be alive, free and debt-free” and “With this justice system there are no rights or democracy.”
Massive, colorful and peaceful marches were carried out in the provinces of Córdoba, Entre Ríos, Jujuy, Neuquén, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero and Tucumán, among others.
In Brazil, tens of thousands of women hit the streets of major cities against patriarchal violence, gender inequality and the high rate of femicides in the country. According to a recent report, 1,410 women were killed in gender-based violence in 2022. The number suggest that there was nearly one victim every six hours. In the capital Brasília, women rights organizations marched to the district government’s office to demand comprehensive policies to confront gender-based violence.
In Rio de Janeiro, women held a massive march demanding equal rights and reproductive rights. According to Human Rights Watch, Brazilian women workers typically earn 23% less than men, regardless of whether their educational level is higher. Likewise, abortion is illegal in Brazil except when performed to save the woman’s life or in cases of rape.
The residents of Rio also paid homage to Afro-descendant activist and councilwoman Marielle Franco, who was assassinated on March 14, 2018. Throughout her life, Marielle, a lesbian and human rights activist, fought for the rights of Black people, women and gender-diverse people and the poor living in rural areas.
Demonstrations were also held in Porto Alegre, Teresina, Porto Velho, Crato, Goiânia, Altamira, São Luís, Natal and Curitiba, among other cities. The demands included an end to violence against women, in addition to state specific demands such as affordable public services, affordable housing, compliance with conditions for the construction of dams, preservation of the Amazon and food sovereignty.
Additionally, under the banner of “Agribusiness profits from hunger and violence, for land and democracy, women in resistance,” women workers associated with the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) organized different protest actions in 24 states of the country.
In Ecuador, thousands of women mobilized in various cities across the country in rejection of the growing gender-based violence and sharp increase in the number of femicides. According to reports, in Ecuador a woman is murdered every 26 hours on account of their gender. According to data from the Latin American Association for Alternative Development (ALDEA), during 2022, 332 femicides were registered in Ecuador. The year was the most violent year for women since 2014, when femicide was criminalized in the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code (COIP).
In the capital Quito, despite pouring rain, hundreds of women gathered at Plaza Indoamérica and marched to El Arbolito demanding guarantees of a fear free life for women. Elizabeth Otavalo, the mother of María Belén Bernal, also took part in the march. Her daughter was a victim of femicide. She was allegedly killed by her husband Lieutenant Germán Fernando Cáceres in the Quito Police Training School in September 2022. Otavalo demanded justice for her daughter and that the government of President Guillermo Lasso provide guarantees of a decent life for the orphans of femicide victims.
Delegations of Indigenous women as well as members of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and the National Confederation of Peasant, Indigenous and Afro-descendant Organizations (FENOCIN) also joined the mobilization.
In Mexico, hundreds of thousands of women rose up against patriarchy, gender inequality and gender-based violence. According to official statistics, between January and December 2022, in Mexico, a total of 968 women were murdered because they are female.
In the capital Mexico City, a massive green and purple tide of women spread through the streets to demand an end to femicides, disappearances of women, rapes, harrasment and gender inequality, as well as justice for their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends and colleagues who have been victims of the patriarchal system. The women affirmed that they fight for a life without fear for themselves and future generations.
In Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, hundreds of thousands of women flooded the streets demanding equality in the world’s most unequal region, refusing to continue being marginalized, discriminated against, excluded, and murdered.