Society

Strikes and marches mark strengthened women's movement in Latin America

Big protests were organized in Chile, Mexico and Argentina, where a strike kept the mobilization on Monday

In Santiago, Chile, hundreds of thousands took to the streets. Photo: Shutterstock
  • Officials estimated 125,000 took part of protests in Santiago, but organizers said the gatherings were far larger;
  • In Mexico and Argentina, tens of thousands of women also participated in a strike to protest violence and ask for gender equality.

From the streets of Mexico City to the plazas of Santiago, Chile, people across Latin America marked International Women’s Day with calls to end exploitation and increase equality. The 2020 mobilization was one of the biggest in recent years in the region with Chile, Mexico and Argentina leading the protests to demand an end to violence against women, equal opportunities and abortion rights. 

One of the largest demonstrations in the world occurred in Chile, where crowds flooded the streets of the capital with dancing, music and energetic demands. Officials estimated 125,000 took part in Santiago, but organizers said the gatherings were far larger. Scattered clashes broke out at points when demonstrators threw rocks at police, who responded with water cannon.

The country’s discussions about a new constitution fueled protesters’ demands, who said the chart should include more women’s rights. 

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Argentina

Many Chileans were wearing green scarves in a show of support for activists in Argentina, where government and Congress are considering a new proposal to legalize elective abortion.

In Buenos Aires, a women’s strike was organized on Monday, on the aftermath of International Women’s Day. Thousand of people gathered on a violet and green wave all over the Congress area. Violet is the color used against sexist violence, and green symbolizes the demand for abortion’s rights. 

Mexico

In Mexico, tens of thousands of women also participated on Monday in a strike to protest violence and to demand government action against it. The women’s absence from workplaces and classrooms was intended to be a reminder that every day, 10 women in Mexico are killed.

According to the New York Times, the strike and the big marches on Sunday, were a watershed moment for Mexico, a nation that has long failed to grapple with entrenched gender-based violence.

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Brazil

In São Paulo, this year’s protests were smaller than in 2019. Rainy weather discouraged some people to take to the streets. The ones who did protested against gender violence in Brazil and in favor of equal rights. 

They took the occasion to remember Marielle Franco, the Rio de Janeiro’s councilwoman who was murdered in 2018 in a crime that has yet to be resolved. The demonstration also served as a platform for signs of disapproval against the government of Jair Bolsonaro, and its conservative stances on cultural and gender issues.