We were expecting 100,000, which would have already been a record. They were more than double to converge, from Saturday 12 to Monday, October 14, to La Plata, the capital of the province of Buenos Aires, to participate in 34es National Women's Meetings (ENM, acronym in Spanish).
Coming from all over the country, from all social classes, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations or identities, they occupied hotels, squares, streets, stormed restaurants and debated in one of 87 workshops organized on themes related to gender issues.
Green, symbol of the fight for abortion
A noisy, joyous, colorful crowd, where the green, symbol of the fight for abortion (abortion), dominated. The women showed their willingness to place abortion at the center of the debate, which was largely forgotten in the campaign for the presidential and legislative elections to be held on 27 October.
"We will obtain laws that will increasingly oppose patriarchy here and throughout Latin America. Nina Brugo
Launched after the Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985, these annual meetings are not just a festival. "Place of intense exchanges, debates, confrontation of ideas, they were, supports feminist lawyer Nina Brugo, at the origin of the discussions for obtaining many rights " : law of political parity, creation of programs of sexual and reproductive health, law against violence of gender, marriage for all …
It was at the 2003 NHS in Rosario that the right to abortion became a national claim. The first green scarves have appeared. A year later, in 2004, in Mendoza, the launch of the National Campaign for Abortion Rights, an NGO collective created to support the fight against abortion more effectively. It was he who drafted the bill debated in Parliament in 2018, finally rejected by the Senate.
Over the years, women's participation has become more massive. "We were barely a thousand in 1986, in Buenos Aires, recalls Nina Brugo, one of the founders of the Campaign, who prides herself on having participated in the 34 NHSs. Argentine feminism was largely constructed during the meetings. "
"The National Campaign for the Right to Abortion has become a political actress of weight and a stake of power. An activist
Since last year, young people have come in numbers, particularly through the debates on abortion. "We can not go back, continues the pioneer. Because of this, we will obtain laws that will increasingly oppose patriarchy here and throughout Latin America. The strong presence of Latin American comrades in La Plata proves it. "
New debates have emerged, especially on the question of gender. And the term "national meetings" no longer satisfies indigenous communities. The 35es ENM, which will take place in 2020 in San Luis, 800 kilometers west of Buenos Aires, should become the "Plurinational Meetings of Women, Lesbians, Trans, Transvestites, Bisexual and Non-Binary".
On the political scene, some are trying to recover the mobilization. Totally unknown before the 2018 debates, "The National Campaign for the Right to Abortion has become a political actress of weight and a power issue, whereas, until then, abortion was considered piantavotos (which makes losing votes), explains an activist who prefers not to give her name. Today, the left-wing parties in favor of abortion are arguing over who will capitalize on these hundreds of thousands of votes. "
The Front of All and Pope Francis
Just two weeks before the elections, activists split up on the event's itinerary on Sunday night. Some have made the choice to pass the cathedral, the governor's palace of the province, the ministry of justice, in short, the centers of power. When others wanted to avoid any direct confrontation, especially with the Church, as wanted by the supporters of the Front of All who, led by Alberto Fernández and the former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015), caracole at the top of the polls and should win in the first round. If he said he was in favor of the legalization of abortion, the Peronist duo has also recently approached Pope Francis, whom he takes care not to offend. During the first presidential debate on Sunday evening, Mr. Fernández just touched on the subject, saying that "Tender" towards legalization. Presented in May for the eighth time since 2007 by the National Campaign, the project on abortion should be discussed again in the hemicycle in 2020. The outcome will depend on the composition of the Parliament that will leave the polls on 27 October.