Women across Latin America and the Caribbean rise up against patriarchy, femicides and capitalism

From Argentina to Mexico, millions of women took to the streets to demand equality in the most unequal region of the world, and to proclaim that they refuse to continue being marginalized, discriminated against, excluded, and murdered

March 09, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Women from the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST) in Pará, participate in intervention against violence and hunger. Photo: MST

This March 8, on the International Women’s Day, hundreds of thousands 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. Women in several countries also demonstrated against the growing femicides and gender based violence in the region, as well as against the increasing capitalist onslaught on the environment under neoliberal governments.

From Argentina to Mexico, millions of women came onto the streets to demand equality in the most unequal region of the world, and to proclaim that they refuse to continue being marginalized, discriminated against, excluded, and murdered.

Argentina

Throughout Argentina, several massive demonstrations were held to demand an end to gender inequality in the workplace and effective measures against the alarming increase in femicides and other types of gender based violence.

In the capital Buenos Aires, the Ni Una Menos or Not One (Woman) Less movement along with various social organizations and trade unions, held two major mobilizations. First, in the early afternoon, in front of the city legislature building to demand work with rights, salary recomposition and comprehensive care system; compliance with the city’s transvestite-trans labor quota law; effective public policies and with a budget to eradicate gender based violence; measures against harassment and repression of workers, among others, and second, in the late afternoon, in front of the National Congress to demand the approval of the Emergency Law on Gender Violence.

In addition, massive colorful and peaceful marches were carried in the provinces of Chaco, Córdoba, Corrientes, Entre Ríos, Jujuy, La Pampa, Mendoza, Misiones, Salta, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Tierra de Fuego and Tucuman, among others to demand immediate sanction of the emergency law.

In the first 67 days of this year, 65 women have been murdered in Argentina for the simple fact of being a woman.

Brazil

In Brazil, under the banner of “Fora Bolsonaro” or “Out With Bolsonaro”, thousands of women took the streets of major cities to demand president Jair Bolsonaro’s resignation and superior vaccination coverage against COVID-19, denouncing his government’s mismanagement of the pandemic that has left more than 260,000 people dead in the country.

Various different protest actions were organized to denounce Bolsonaro for the escalation in femicides and violence against women and the members of the LGBTQI community. Brazilian women also condemned the fact that under Bolsonaro’s neoliberal and anti-people administration, hunger, poverty and unemployment have aggravated in the country and demanded urgent measures.

Last week, more than 95 feminist organizations from across Brazil called for demonstrations throughout this week and yesterday’s mobilizations marked the initiation of their struggle against Bolsonaro’s far-right regime.

Chile

In Chile, hundreds of thousands of women held a national strike called for by the 8M Feminist Coordinator and peacefully marched through the streets of various cities to demand gender parity in all realms, non-sexist education and the right to free, legal and safe abortion.

In the capital Santiago, close to half a million women gathered at the iconic Dignity Plaza and flooded the whole of Alameda avenue to express their rejection of the right-wing national government, led by president Sebastian Pinera, and its repressive security forces. This protest like many others in Chile was also violently repressed by the national police force, the Carabineros. However, Chilean women stood strong in the face of the tear gas and water canons, and forced Piñera’s repressors to retreat.

In the cities of Valparaiso, Concepcion and Puerto Montt massive demonstrations were also held.

Dominican Republic

In Dominican Republic, in the capital Santo Domingo, hundreds of women protested gender based violence and discrimination in the country. They demanded reproductive rights and inclusion of femicide and other forms of violence against women as punishable offenses in the new penal code, which is till being drafted in the country.

 

El Salvador

In El Salvador, thousands of women, human rights and LGBTQI activists demonstrated in the capital San Salvador to denounced violence against women and LGBTQI community members and to demand decriminalization of abortion in the conservative country. For the first time, journalists and reporters also joined the women’s day march to demand permission to cover and report on gender based violence in the country.

Guatemala

In Guatemala, women took to the streets in the capital Guatemala city to demand an end to gender-based violence and justice for those who have been victims of femicides, rapes, and other forms of sexist violence in the country. The demonstrators called on the government of president Alejandro Giammattei to pass strict laws against sexual harassment and abuses.

Honduras

In Honduras, hundreds of women marched against the wave of femicides that has shaken the Central American country with over 50 cases so far this year. They demanded that the national government implement effective measures to tackle the serious issue. They also demanded the abolition of the reform that reinforced the ban on abortion and same-sex marriage in the country. They declared that they will continue to fight to claim autonomy over their bodies and lives.

Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Honduras have the most conservative legislation around abortion in the region. Abortion is illegal in these country in all circumstances, without any exception. These countries are also the most unsafe countries for women in the regions, with the highest indexes of gender-based violence and femicides.

Mexico

In Mexico, one of the countries with the highest femicide and impunity rates in the world, tens of thousands of women hit the streets of the capital Mexico City, rejecting the situation. To protest against femicides, members of feminist groups and women’s movements turned the metal fence surrounding the National Palace into a “wall of memory” by covering it with the names of thousands of victims killed in recent years.

The government guarded the National Palace, the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the hemicycle, the offices of the Bank of Mexico and the Ministry of Foreign Relations with fences, “to protect them from being damaged during the feminist march” and “avoid clashed like last year”. Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador called it the “wall of peace.” However, the measure was criticized by feminist groups, who described it as an impediment to free demonstration.

During the evening, feminist claims such as legal abortion, end to femiicdes and violence against women, among others were projected on the National Palace.

In Colombia thousands of women hit the streets demanding cessation of the wave of femicides. In Ecuador as well, women demanded legalization of abortion and recognition of their right to decide about their body.

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