SANTIAGO – Authorities are preparing for the recommencement of protests starting with the polemic 8 de Marzo (March 8th) demonstrations on International Feminist Day. As students return to the capital city after their summer break, it is expected that March will be the month that the demonstrations re-ignite with even more volume than before. For feminist organizations, this is the moment to stand up for women’s rights ahead of the national plebiscite vote in April.
Women on the streets of Santiago with green neck scarves are now a common sight, three months after the protests first began in the capital. From Mon Laferte’s defiant statement at the Latin America Grammy Awards, to the feminist song by La Tesis that swept the globe, the feminist movement has never been more active in Chile as women take to the streets to make their voices heard.
Only one month until International Women’s Day on Mar. 8, Chilean authorities are beginning to prepare for what is expected to be the largest feminist protest to date.
“The Rapist is You”
Close to 10,000 women gathered outside the Estadio Nacional early in December in a mass performance of La Tesiss’ protest song “Un Violador en tu Camino.” The demonstration marked the culmination of the growing anger of women in Chile, tired of the inequality and gender violence that they say still prevails.
Alongside the theater group La Tesis, Mon Laferte, the Chilean singer, and various female protesters and politicians have become emblems of the feminist fight in the country. As the prominent 8 de Marzo date approaches, plans for the re ignition of the protests are in full swing.
The national coordinator for 8 de Marzo in Chile recently published a call to arms on Twitter, stating that March will be the month that “las y les luchan” (“women and men will fight”) calling both men and women back to the streets to fight for equal rights. There are an estimated 5,000 women and feminist organizations currently registered for the two days of strikes and protests on Mar. 8 and 9. Chilean authorities expect numbers of protesters to exceed that of 2019, which saw the largest feminist march since the end of the Chilean dictatorship 30 years before.
The planned demonstrations include marches for legal abortion, equal pay rights, and an end to domestic violence, with the feminist organizations encouraging women from all cultures to come together as a representation of the diverse women of Chile. Paola Palacos, the spokeswoman for Negrocentricxs and Secretary for Women Immigrants, commented on the importance of showing women from all walks of life as a means to achieving “a plural and equitable society,” and as a mark of unity for all women.
The Fight for Equality
The call to arms by feminist organization coincides with the political agenda currently at the forefront of the nation’s mind. As the plebiscite vote approaches, women are determined to make their voices heard and to turn the heads of politicians. Their position is that the constitutional importance of defending women and promoting gender equality cannot be overlooked, and the month of March is set to be one of the most important times for political activists.
Hand-in-hand with the preparations for protest control is the discussion of the use of force by the Chilean police. As demonstrated by “El violador en tu camino,” gender violence is one of the most important aspects of the feminist movement, and both the Chilean government and international organizations have already sighted female abuse during the protest times as unacceptable.
Katie is a student from Exeter University where she is studying English Literature and Spanish. This year she is interning with Chile Today as part of her year abroad in Latin America. She believes in the importance of a global newsroom which spreads the news of the world to every corner and gives voice to the people.