Argentina’s Milei Has Declared War on Women’s Rights

Argentina’s Milei Has Declared War on Women’s Rights
Women hold up signs in a march marking the ninth anniversary of the Ni Una Menos, or Not One Woman Less, movement, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 3, 2024 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Argentina has long been a leader in the Americas when it comes to protecting sexual and reproductive rights and advancing gender equality. It was the first country in the Western Hemisphere to pass a gender quota law for political representation in 1991 and the second to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. It passed one of the most progressive gender identity laws in the world in 2012. Finally, in 2020, Argentina legalized abortion on demand, becoming the third country in Latin America to do so.

Most of these policy changes have been made possible by the country’s strong and influential feminist and LGBTQ+ movements, such as the “Ni Una Menos,” or Not One Woman Less, movement against femicide, which is defined as the killing of a woman because of her gender; and the “Green Tide” movement to legalize abortion. Both originated in Argentina but quickly spread to create transnational networks of activists across the region and the world.

This wave of victories for feminist movements and progressive politics came to a halt, however, when President Javier Milei took office in December 2023. Elected the previous month with 56 percent of the vote in the middle of a deep economic crisis, Milei ran on a far-right libertarian platform that promised to slash the state and put an end to what he characterized as the corrupt “political caste.” In a recent interview, Milei made clear that he views his role as “the mole in the state,” adding, “I am the one who destroys the state from within.’

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