On Friday, March 8, millions of Argentine women took to the streets of Buenos Aires, surrounding the Congress building in Plaza del Congreso for the annual protest for women’s rights in honor of International Women’s Day. In recent years, Argentine politics have increasingly involved topics of gender-based violence, equal pay, sexual harassment, objectification of women, gay & transgender rights, and legal abortion. Gender issues make up a significant part of Argentina’s political discourse (including around the upcoming general election). The most recent incident that sparked outrage is the case of an 11-year-old girl who had to go under C-section after being denied abortion by the local government.
“If we stop [working], the world stops!”
The march was a highlight in the SXP calendar for the M20 cohort in Buenos Aires. There were roughly 30 women at the discussion prior to the march and who continued to participate on the streets. Laura Corallini – Global Director of Student Affairs – gave a short introduction of the history and importance of the protest.
“If we stop [working], the world stops!” is a famous quote from the women’s protest in Spain that resonates with many in Buenos Aires. The march symbolizes, both figuratively and literally, the economic, social and political importance of women in Argentina’s society. In recent years, most organizers have been focused on the topic of abortion, the legalization of which was denied by Congress last year. Men are encouraged not to join the march. During the discussion, Minerva women raised questions about the social disparities between those able, and those unable, to join the strike.
The streets of Buenos Aires were crowded with women of all ages, from white-haired grandmothers to little kids propped up on the shoulders of their mothers. Support from other movements and organizations, like the NiUnaMenos movement (which works to prevent gender violence) and several labor unions and political parties, came in large numbers. Women from an indigenous organization energized the crowd by dancing and singing as they marched. In the evening, Minerva students saw schoolchildren marching through the streets, shouting slogans in their uniforms.
Rodri (SXP staff), Eric, Alex, and Nadav (all male students from the class of 2020) stayed back at the residence to prepare dinner for those who participated in the protest. As Rodri said during the discussion before the march, men are encouraged to support women on this day; not with gifts or kind words, but by enabling them to march. This sentiment was expressed for all Minerva students involved with the provision of a warm dinner after several hours out on the streets!
Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the location of the March as being in Plaza De Mayo – this has been corrected to the accurate location of the March: Plaza del Congreso