In an interview with Elas Sem Fronteiras, Argentinian activist talks about the importance and relevance of the movements Ni Una Menos and Que Sea Ley, and its consequences in the current scenario of her country
The feminist movement, which has always led to changes in culture, family structure and politics, has had a significant new chapter in Latin America in the last recent years. Capable of influencing civil and social rights, it has, to a certain extent, caused a unification of ideals in some countries such as Argentina, Chile and Brazil, since they have a similar socio-political situation.
Exhausted of seeing the numbers of femicide increasing year by year, a group of Argentine female writers, journalists and artists created, in 2015, the “Ni Una Menos” movement – ‘not one [woman] less’ as a victim of femicide. That is because, only in 2014, the number of women killed was 277. In June there was a march which occurred in several cities in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile and in the following year it was even more triggered with the murders of Chiara Páez (14), who was pregnant and four other women, including Lucía Pérez (16), who was drugged, raped and impaled, characterizing it as one of the most alarming cases of femicide in Argentina.
Ni Una Menos, which received popular support regardless of gender, had a fast international growth due to social midia. With the participation of more than 100 Argentinian cities, it demanded the reduction of gendercide, protection of victims and discussion on the subject at all levels of education. From then on, the story changes, and what we can see is a very different scenario when it comes to women’s mobilization in this Latin American country.
With changes in civil and social rights, the movement has an incredible power and it’s something very beautiful to see happening! It’s in this scenario of feminine force that we invited the Argentinian activist, Rosario De Schant to tell us more about the feminist framework in her country. Take a seat, have some tea. You can’t miss this interview, sis!
Ni Una Menos and Que Sea Ley
Rosário (29), an engineer and art painter, begins telling us about Ni Una Menos. Living in Buenos Aires, she describes that, now more than ever, the theme is the most talked about subject in the city.
“With regard to femicides in particular, the movement has helped call it by it’s name: there is no such thing as a “crime of passion” – women are being murdered as a result of sexism,” she points out.
A very interesting point in the Argentinean movement is the use of coloured scarves as a manifestation of opinion and militancy which is stronger than in Brazil, for example. There, militancy even uses the “pañuelos”: purple for Ni Una Menos, dark green for Que Sea Ley, orange for the Secular State, and so on. Whether it’s on the subway, on the streets or inside the shops, the scarves are always around their necks or close by in the backpacks.
This year, the agenda in the neighbouring country was the legalization of abortion and it being safe and free, with the “Que Sea Ley” movement. The artist, who was present at the session of the National Congress for approval of abortion in Argentina, reports how it was.
“You should have seen all the people gathered there: mothers, teenagers, grandmothers, men. All united to support freedom of choice, but also to remind politicians that their power is borrowed and people are the real owners,” she emphasizes.
According to Rosario, there’s still a lot of work to be done in relation to the difference of equality between men and women. “I used to feel a lot of anger with this whole injustice, I still feel that way sometimes. But now, at least I can help change things and, in that way, I can see the good side as well. The oppression we face has awakened the most powerful force: ours! The brotherhood of this movement generated through social classes, ethnicities, religion and age.. among others, is unprecedented and will not get passed by unnoticed.
“Unlike other historical movements or political parties, I see this as a revolution based on empathy, comprehension and love: we are different from one another, but we support the right for everyone to be free. This movement was generated by women because of the context, but men should not feel excluded, because all these values we fight for are for them too! “, she emphasizes.
When asked what kinds of discrimination she has suffered as a woman, Rosario, who is also dedicated to muralism, also refers to art.
“I see that the number of women summoned at the mural festivals is always lower. I know a case of a colleague who stopped being invite to a private event because she was no longer single. The inclusion of women is necessary both in the art itself and on the organizational/institutional side, ” she points out.
In regards to the dissemination of debates about women within the Latin American culture in general, she says that she was fortunate to have received a differentiated education that made her more aware of women’s empowerment. “At home, my parents did not mention the issue of female power directly, but they always raised me so I could take care of myself and encouraged me to defend my opinions,” she said.
When we talk about the culture of her country and how her society treated feminism throughout it’s creation, Rosario tells us that much of it came from how she observed the world. “During high school,’ women’s rights’ meant for me to have had the right to vote in the early fifties, as I studied in History classes. It was only later, in my early twenties, that I found articles and books that addressed this topic in more depth and introduced the concept of “feminism” to me. I quickly became a defender of this. Now I have a more personal definition as a guideline for my life than I used to read as a result of my own experience and my own way, but I think it happens to everyone trying to integrate an idea outside themselves. Women in my family were not formally presented to women’s rights, but they forged the values they passed on to me with their own experiences or observations,” relates the artist.
In Argentina, women’s representation in politics is considerable compared to Brazil. Currently, they take part in 37% of the House of Representatives and 40% in the Federal Senate – way higher compared to Brazil, which holds about 15% and 13%, respectively (2018 elections). With female representation, women automatically get more rights. However, in Brazil, with so many different roots and origins, the fight is also a matter of reclaiming the visibility of black women in active movements. And that’s what we expect with #Mariellepresente, that all of us are always attentive and present. The feminist debate on gender issues and public policies for women has gained more visibility in the media. At least in this period of history, feminist movements will not go unnoticed. With more visibility, we gain more legitimacy and as Rosario said, at the end of our interview, “The seed has already been planted in the brains of many people, they can no longer ignore it. This is a very important step”, she says. The holler has already been given, sisters of all nations, they can no longer shut us up.
We authorize the reproduction of all our texts under the condition that the active link to the original document of Elas Sem Fronteiras is published together ♥️.