Over 300 Argentine women led a protest against rampant femicide on Friday, blocking street traffic in Buenos Aires to bring attention to their country’s high female murder rate.
The protest, organized by the Women's Front of the Evita Movement, also spoke out against Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s neo-liberal economic reforms implementing austerity.
“The first policies that we need to change have to do with women in the workforce because without economic independence, we end up with gender violence,” Efe Daiana Anadon, a member of the Women’s Front of the Evita Movement, told EFE.
“As there is an increase in poverty, there is also a feminization of poverty, since the majority of poor households are supported by women. We have also been doing family or domestic work that is unpaid without any kind of state protection.”
Femicide figures in Argentina are staggering.
In 2016, an Argentine woman died every 30 hours, Buenos Aires-based NGO La Casa del Encuentro reports. So far this year, a woman died in Argentina every 18 hours. And since 2008, crimes against women have risen 78 percent, according to Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
For many in the Evita Movement, things are only getting worse with Macri.
Since taking office in 2015, the right-wing leader has slashed budgets for social institutions, like the National Council of Women, that were previously well-funded under former President Cristina Fernandez’s administration. Last December, he eliminated three laws created under Fernandez’s administration that protected workers and pregnant women.
It doesn’t stop there.
Macri’s administration is also considering eliminating a law passed by Argentina’s Congress four years ago that defines domestic violence, gender-based killings and other categories of hate crimes against women as “femicide.”
“We are in a process of trying to reverse his policies but unfortunately we still live in a macho society,” Adela Segarra, a leader of Women's Front of the Evita Movement, told EFE.
“The greater the poverty, the greater the adjustment, the higher the indicators of violence and intra-family violence.”
The Women's Front of the Evita Movement is named after Eva Peron, second wife of former Argentine President Juan Peron. Serving as the first lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952, Eva is considered one of Argentina’s leading revolutionary female figures.
The organization is planning to participate in nationwide protests on March 8 in honor of International Women's Day.