"I never imagined something like this would happen. Because of my age, I will not live much of this Constitution, but it is very important to leave this legacy for young people," said Monica Ovalle, a retiree who still remembers the coup d'état that gave way to the bloody dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).
"It has taken us many decades to get here and we owe a lot to the younger women who have managed to break paradigms," said Jennifer Peñailillo, a teacher who pointed out that the military regime considered gender activism almost a crime.
In Nov. 2019, to quell the protests that took to the streets for nearly a year, the Chilean Congress approved a constituent process that began with the October 2020 plebiscite in which nearly 80 percent of voters approved changing the constitution.
Since then, thousands of citizens have mobilized to ensure that this political process includes demands such as the eradication of violence against women, equal pay, or legal and safe abortion.
This weekend, Chileans will go to the polls to select the members of the body that will draft a new constitution.
Although these rights might not be directly concretized in the new constitution, the final text could set some rules to make them possible through ordinary politics.
"Given the current correlation of political forces, it will be very complicated for abortion and other gender issues to be written into the constitution," said Claudia Heiss, a political scientist at the University of Chile.
The current elections are the most important political event in the last 31 years because they open the possibility for Chileans to shape a fairer socio-economic model by dismantling the neoliberal state inherited from the dictatorship.
The drafting of the new Constitution will culminate in 2022 with an exit plebiscite in which citizens must approve or reject the final text.
In Chile, citizens show their support for the Colombian people who are being massacred by the neoliberal administration of Ivan Duque. And Sebastian Piñera's response, as well as Duque, is police repression. pic.twitter.com/d7nncaqUFU