Hundreds of thousands of women marched through the streets of Buenos Aires on 8th March to protest for gender equality and abortion rights in Argentina. Accompanied by a scarce amount of men and children, the International Women’s Day demonstration or ‘El dia de la mujer’ started from the National Congress at 5pm and proceeded down Avenida de Mayo until it reached Plaza de Mayo in the centre of town.
The Argentinian protesters wore purple bandanas to show solidarity in their support for the universal fight for gender equality. Green bandanas were also worn amongst the crowds, which symbolized their unity in the fight for abortion rights, as it is currently illegal in Argentina. Many faces were also painted with feminism markings, such as the Venus symbol, which was named after the goddess Venus and is globally recognized to represent women.
Underneath broad banners that strung from the trees in Plaza de Mayo, a small stage had been set up and one by one, women took to the podium to voice their stories and experiences of gender inequality, how important the march is to them and none the least, their motivations for being part of this momentous movement in Argentina. Large groups of women were gathered on the historic square and cheered in agreement as they listened to their fellow companions.
Dispersed throughout the sea of protesters was an abundance of handcrafted signs and banners, which all made bold statements about the current state of inequality in their country. The Argentinian women proudly paraded through the tight crowds in harmony and huge chants erupted in different parts of the demonstration.
Some examples of their feminist statements included:
* ‘Niñas, no madres’- Girls, not mothers
* ‘Basta de violence machista’- Enough of the male violence
* ‘Soy la mujer de mi vida’- I am the woman of my life
Throughout the march, the women danced, they sang, they laughed, they cried and most importantly they paid their respects to thousands of women who have lost their lives due to ‘femicide,’a term commonly used by Argentinians for when a woman dies at the hands of gender-related violence.
Around the world, many other nations also celebrated this historical day with protests and demonstrations. Since 1977, the United Nations has been celebrating International Women’s Day and each year they create a theme for the event. ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’ was the theme for 2019, which was aimed at focusing on innovative ways to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women around the globe.
As the march came to an end, there was a sense of achievement amongst the women who had all united for the same causes. Even though I’m Australian and am still learning every day about the deep, and sometimes dark, history of this country, I felt welcomed among the women and enjoyed sharing the day with the people who are behind this growing movement in Argentina.