Argentine women unite against austerity and attacks on rights on International Working Women’s Day

Thousands filled the streets of the Argentine capital and cities across the country to reject Milei’s war on working women.

March 11, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch
March 8 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: Gabi Barraza / Comuna Audiovisual

Hundreds of thousands of women, LGBTQ+ and their comrades took to the streets this past March 8 on International Working Women’s Day, filling the streets of Buenos Aires and culminating in the Plaza de Congreso.

Milei has declared war on all sectors of Argentine society, with women being no exception. In early February, six deputies in Congress with Milei’s Liberty Advances coalition announced a bill that would overturn the law which legalized abortion from four years prior.

The national mobilization for International Working Women’s Day was emboldened by the presidency of far-right libertarian President Javier Milei and his administration’s assault on democratic and workers rights in Argentina. This assault however has been met by nationwide rejections of Milei’s program, including a national strike on January 24, where millions of workers took part in a historic strike that united three major labor confederations – The General Confederation of Labor, the Argentine Workers’ Central Union, and the Argentine Workers’ Central Union (Autonomous).

On International Working Women’s Day the same three labor forces united once again, with Argentine Workers’ Central Union (Autonomous) declaring online “Unity of the central unions. The nation is not for sale!”

The March 8 mobilization comes only weeks after Milei’s administration unilaterally announced on February 22 the shutting down of the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI), a federal institute formed in 1995 to form national policies to combat “all forms of discrimination, xenophobia and racism.” This gutting of INADI is in a similar vein of shock-doctrine style measures by Milei that have disrupted Argentine society and its economic stability.

On December 20, Milei announced the Decree of Necessity and Urgency 70/2023 (DNU) in which he called for the dismantling or amendment of 73 laws without the need of Congressional approval. The move has shocked many progressive and civil society organizations in Argentina, who feel the move has completely bypassed democratic processes in a way not witnessed since the end of the country’s dictatorship period.

Left-wing political movement Frente Patria Grande also called for mass participation in the March 8 mobilizations, noting “We mobilized across the country against the DNU and the chainsaw plan of this government that starves. With 3,000,000 poor children and 50,000 community kitchens without food, they attack Integral Sex Education and want to ban inclusive language to cover up the crisis.”