Thousands of women marched across Argentina on Tuesday to express their repudiation of gender violence and demand equal rights on International Women's Day.
"The debt is with us" was one of the slogans utilised the main march that congregated in front of the National Congress in Buenos Aires, the nation's capital –a reference to talks inside the national legislative building where a new financing programme with the International Monetary Fund is under debate.
Most of the demonstrators emphasised the ongoing problem violence against women in the country, which in the first two months of this year saw 54 femicides, according to the La Casa del Encuentro. Figures collected by the NGO conclude that 63 percent of the victims were murdered by partners or ex-partners.
In 2021, the organisation recorded 305 femicides, as a result of which 336 children were left without their mothers, 58 percent of them minors.
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"We have to change everything," said Mariana, 17, who identified herself only by her first name. She wore clothes painted with red ink in blood and the inscription: "Enough is enough."
Women of all ages, many carrying the banners of student, trade union and political organisations, filled the Plaza del Congress to demand more protection from the state.
"Absent state, deaths present," and "Being a woman should not cost us our lives" were just two of the posters hung on the railings of the National Congress building.
"It is very moving to see so many women fighting for the same thing, you feel protected among all of them," said Micaela Bogado, a 22-year-old university student.
"There are still many things to be achieved. Equality, the same conditions that men have that we have," she added.
Near her, a young woman holds up a sign reading :"They are not animals, they are men" – a reference to the case of the gang rape of a 20-year-old girl in the Palermo neighbourhood of Buenos Aires in broad daylight a week ago. Six men are currently under arrest for the crime.
"I'm fed up with not being able to go out in peace, [having] the peace of mind that men have," confessed Belén Bettis, a 31-year-old midwife who is calling for "social change at the root" to tackle machismo.
Autonomy over a women's body, job insecurity and inequality in income compared to men and institutional violence were the main themes of a document that was read out during the event.
President Alberto Fernández called on men to do more in a tweet.
"This 8M [March 8, International Women's Day] let's also reflect, we men. It is time for us to take charge. It is not only about accompanying them, we must rethink and avoid those actions that deepen gender inequality. Only in this way will we be a better society," he said.