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  • Argentinian women protesting against gender violence June 5, 2019.

    Argentinian women protesting against gender violence June 5, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 June 2019
Opinion

"The feminization of poverty affects women who decide to abort in this socioeconomic context," say abortion rights leaders.

Four years after the first massive march took place in Argentina against femicide, women across the nation came together Monday to protest for the same cause.

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Thousands of Argentine women took to the streets of Buenos Aires shouting their signature slogan, Ni Una Menos (not one less), against the country's epidemic of gender violence.

The Association of Women of the Latin American Matrimony (MuMaLa) and Congress members are even calling for a state of emergency to be declared against gender violence in the South American nation that registered one femicide every 32 hours in 2018, according to the Supreme Court.

Femicides have not lessened in Argentina since the #niunamenos movement sponteneously began in 2015 against the rape and murder of several young women, including Daiana Garcia whose body had been found raped and gagged in a trash receptical.

"Women and girls are encouraged to break the pacts of silence and denounce," said Mariana Carbajal, one of the founders of Ni Una Menos.

In January 2019 alone, 22 women were murdered, a 10 increase over the same time during 2018.

The women also demanded the legalization of abortion, a health care issue being taken on with increasing fervor over the past two years in Argentina and across Latin America.

 Argentina's Congress has introduced eight separate bills for the early termination of pregnancies since 2007. The latest version, once again written by the Safe and Free Legal Abortion Campaign was presented to the house one week ago. 

This year, along with making gender violence a public issue, Ni Una Menos intersected this problem with the nation's economic recession, government austerity and national debt.

Alongside its usual hashtags like #VivasNosQueremos (#WeWantUsAlive), Ni Una Menos has used new hashtags—#LibresYDesendeudadasNosQueremos (#WeWantUsFreeAndWithoutDebt) and #NiUnaMenosSinJubliacion (#NotOneLessWithoutRetirement) to highlight economic issues that face women more heavily than men.

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"Since the government of Macri produced this debt, the largest debt in the history of Argentina, one of our principal areas of interest is the relationship between state debt, private debt, and machista violence," Cecilia Palmeiro, one of the organizers told Al Jazeera.

Palmeiro explained how the country’s austerity measures cut social services which harm women as it forces them to stay in abusive relationships or harmful work environments. Public health for women is also being cut by the administration under President Mauricio Macri that reduced the 2019 health budget by 22 percent from the previous year.

The administration has also slashed retirement benefits for women who work from home. Ni Una Menos demands the recognition of domestic labor.

The Socialist Worker's Movement (MST) and the Worker's Left Front political coalition joined Monday's march in support of economic reform.

"For us at Juntas y a la Izquierda (Together and to the Left) in the Socialist Worker's Movement, there is an inseparable relationship between the fight for the rights of women and the fight against the politics of this government," said Cele Fierra of MST.

"Violence against women is intimately related to the accumulation of capital," said Palmeiro.

According to Yamila Picasso of the National Campaign for Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion, economy and abortion are not exclusive to each other.

"Of course, the feminization of poverty affects women who decide to abort in this socioeconomic context," she said.

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