Women’s strike in March
Black Wednesday was the first region-wide march to protest male violence against women and girls.
It rallied women in Latin America around the concept of femicide, protesting the murder of women and girls by men.
‘Femicide’ is a legal and political term that exists precisely to highlight the fact women and girls are murdered solely because they are female.
Last year an estimated 100,000 people took to the streets in Argentina after a 16 year-old girl named Lucia Perez Montero was abducted and raped by a gang. After they had plied her with drugs and assaulted her, her three rapists washed her, dressed her, and took her to a drug rehabilitation centre. She was still alive. The centre treated her case as a drug overdose, until they discovered the sexual trauma, but Lucia Perez Montero died the next day, on 8 October.
Femicide targets females specifically, and is an epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in other countries across the world.
Fighting it is the cornerstone of Latin American feminist activism.
Although Ni Una Menos is based in Argentina, on Black Wednesday women and girls there were joined in a massive display of feminist solidarity by thousands of people in Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador and Spain.
Following the success of the Polish women’s strike against abortion, of Black Wednesday, and of the Women’s March in Washington and the sister marches, people from countries around the world are expected to join the 8 March strike.
England, Scotland and Wales are yet to join in.
Ni Una Menos’ manifesto reads:
We strike to bring attention to:
‘The capital that exploits us in the informal economy.
‘The state and market forces that exploit us when they put us in debt.
‘The nation-states that criminalise our migration.
‘The fact that we make less money than men and our wage discrimination is, on average, 27 per cent.
‘We strike because of the economic violences that heighten our vulnerability to misogynist violence, whose most violent extreme is femicide.
‘We strike to demand abortion on demand and so that no girl is forced to become a mother.
‘We miss the lesbians and transwomen who were murdered in hate crimes.
‘The political prisoners, the persecuted, the women murdered in our Latin American territory for defending the land and resources.
‘We miss the women who have died and the ones who remain in prison due to unsafe abortions.
‘We miss having among us the ones who were disappeared by traffickers and the victims of sexual exploitation.
‘We appropriate the tool of striking because our demands are urgent. The strength of our movement is in the bond we create with other women. We are braiding a new internationalism.
‘When our homes become hell, we organise to defend each other and protect one another.
‘In the face of the crimes of machismo and its pedagogy of cruelty and in the face of the media’s attempt to victimise us and terrorise us, we make of our individual grieving a collective comfort and a shared rage.
‘In the face of cruelty: more feminism.’
With over 30 countries set to join the strike, the rallying cry “Solidarity is our weapon,” is fitting.