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ARGENTINA | 08-03-2019 11:39

#8M: Women to fill streets in push for abortion rights, gender equality

Hundreds of thousands of women and allies will turn out for the annual 'Paro internacional de mujeres' celebrating International Women’s Day today, with protests and demonstrations set for later today.

Green bandanas and banners will fill the streets of Buenos Aires today, as they will in cities and towns across the country, as women renew their calls for gender equality.

In the capital, hundreds of thousands of women and allies will turn out for the City’s annual Paro internacional de mujeres, celebrating International Women’s Day, or ‘8M,’ beginning at 5pm.

From National Congress to the Plaza de Mayo, demonstrators will march to advocate for abortion rights and gender equality, and call out the country’s alarming rates of femicide and violence against women. Over 80 feminist organisations have been joining forces at weekly asembleas this summer in preparation for today's events. Their agendas are galvanized around the election year.

This week, organisers crocheted hundreds of green squares honouring victims of feminicide in the country. Lucía Pérez, Verónica Escudero, Giselle Alves, Inés Vitta, and Liliana Holguín are just a few of the names stitched on these squares, which will be sewn together into a massive flag honouring the feminist struggle.

Between January and February of 2019, there were 54 femicides in Argentina, according to the Ahora Si Sí Ven observatory. In 2018, a woman was killed by a man every 29 hours on average, the NGO says.

"You read the story of each woman and you're taken by the emotion," said Miranda Frigeri, a 37-year-old artisan.

Miranda is one of 30 women who, sitting in a park in Buenos Aires on a Sunday afternoon, helped weave and stitch the squares honouring femicide victims

"It's about building networks with women that empower us," Daniela Zapata, 33, another participant said.

"This flag isn’t something that can be made alone, it's a craft that comes from inheritance. We learn from our mothers and grandmothers," she added.

From Ni una menos to legal abortion

From the 2015 #NiUnaMenos movement rejecting violence against women, to #MiraComoNosPonemos, the hashtag that went viral in 2018 when actress Thelma Fardín broke her silence years after being attacked, the struggle for women's rights has continued to grab attention in Argentina and beyond.

Denunciations of abuse and harassment have multiplied since the movement began, as women open up about patterns of systemic abuse.

"Although the main framework was abortion, in 2018 there was a discussion about the great inequality and the great discrimination that women still experience," Mabel Bianco, president of the Foundation for the Study and Research of Women (FEIM) told AFP.

"Those who reject the legalisation of abortion are actually attacking the gender as a whole."

-TIMES/AFP

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