After an impressive battle for safe, legal, and free abortions in Argentina, women gather Saturday for the 33rd National Women’s Conference in Chubut, Argentina, a space to discuss women's diverse struggles against inequality, gender-based violence and femicides, discrimination, mining and oil projects, austerity, and state repression, among others.
Over 65,000 women will gather in Chubut to participate in 73 workshops, roundtables, and panels organized to discuss women’s individual and collective experiences, and to design the strategies that will allow them to continue to push their agenda for equal rights.
In Argentina, the women’s movement has organized this national conferences since 1986. “In the first one we were nearly 1,000 women, today in the 33rd National Women’s Conference 65,000 of us will participate,” their website states.
"A stampede in the inauguration of the @ENM33Chubut."
This year’s conference is marked by the massive mobilizations in favor of a bill that would have decriminalized abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy but was struck down by the Argentine Senate after intense pressure by the Catholic and evangelical churches and other powerful conservative sectors.
Despite the defeat in Congress, Argentine women have been emboldened by the vast support they received earlier this year when Congress debated the abortion bill and by the effective social decriminalization of abortion in Argentina.
Abortion is not the only relevant issue on the agenda. In this year's edition of the conference, the economic crisis and the government's austerity policies are of central concern. "The feminist movement has denounced how the increasingly precarious conditions fundamentally affect women, especially due to the wage gap and the burden of domestic tasks," Victoria Freire of the Observatory of Gender and Public Policy told local media.
This year's conference is different from others in that it is the first one to declare itself plurinational, in recognition of the multiple nationalities that live in Argentina and their struggle for land and self'determination. The Southern province of Chubut has an important presence of Mapuche people, who will also participate in the conference.
Another central issue is the enduring problem of femicides in the country, where according to local media 200 women have been killed by their former or current partners in this year alone. Since 2015, Argentine women launched the Ni Una Menos (or Not One Less) campaign to demand an end to femicides.
On Sunday they will march through the city ahead of the closing events scheduled for Monday.