In Latin America, hard-won gains by the feminist movement are now under threat

Argentina stands as a beacon of feminism in Latin America, but is now witnessing a relentless battle for women's rights.

Argentina stands as a beacon of feminism in Latin America, but is now witnessing a relentless battle for women's rights. From the inception of the Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) movement, shedding light on gender-based violence and femicides, to the historic legalisation of abortion in December 2020, the green wave of feminism has surged and rattled the region.

This milestone not only secured the autonomy of Argentine women's bodies but also marked a significant reduction in maternal mortality over three years. Moreover, it catalysed progress in reproductive rights in other Latin American countries such as Ecuador, Mexico, and Colombia, where advancements have been made in recent years.

However, these hard-won gains are now under threat.

The current president of Argentina, Javier Milei, a self-proclaimed "lover of freedom," paradoxically upholds an anti-feminist and ultra-conservative discourse. Despite his brief tenure, Milei has swiftly pursued a regressive agenda, including the elimination of the Ministry of Women and dismissive rhetoric towards feminist movements during the Davos Summit, dismissing feminism as "a ridiculous and unnatural fight between man and woman." Furthermore, lawmakers from his party have sent a bill to Congress seeking to repeal the law on free abortion, threatening to imprison women and doctors exercising their rights.

Milei's policies and ideology, lacking empathy, critical analysis, and historical memory, seek to impose an archaic vision of women's role in society. This constitutes an insult to human dignity and an affront to social justice, perpetuating a legalised act of barbarism we thought we had overcome. Repealing a right won through historic battles of women and feminists is not just a regression but a violation of human rights and a slight to generations of women.

In a region where unsafe abortions among women and girls reach 670,000, many resulting in death, denying them this right is tantamount to a death sentence, perpetuating injustice and inequality. These actions not only threaten women's rights but also undermine the essence of democracy and equality.

Given Latin America's regional influence, Milei's policies could have a ripple effect throughout the entire region. As Argentina's leadership in feminist movements wanes under his administration, neighbouring countries may face increased pressure to roll back hard-fought rights and protections for women, potentially leading to a domino effect with conservative governments emboldened to pursue similar anti-feminist agendas, further exacerbating gender inequality across the continent.

However, us Latin American women stand resolute; we refuse to retreat. This battle extends beyond borders, challenging entrenched power structures. The enduring green wave reverberates in our streets until every woman holds the unassailable right to shape her destiny.

Argentine feminists have taught us that victories are forged on the front lines. Therefore, we will persist in our fight for the freedom to choose: cherished motherhood or safe abortions. The quest for gender equality transcends boundaries, and each triumph is a victory for humanity. 

It is time for us to amplify our voices, demand justice, and ensure our victories resonate throughout history. Global solidarity among women is paramount, and our continued activism is essential to maintain progress.