The result of the primary elections last August was undoubtedly a great wake-up call. A warning for traditional political forces precisely in the year that marks 40 years since the recovery of democratic institutions in Argentina. A warning for the forms of communication that party politics generally uses and above all a warning sign about the dissatisfaction felt by an important part of the population. In that sense, it was a collective wake-up call about what were those founding bases of the democratic consensus that we believed to be so solid.
The three political forces with the most votes had less than 3 percentage points difference between each one, in an election marked by the lowest participation in primary elections in recent history. Almost 11 million people chose for various reasons not to go to vote. We are facing an electoral scenario that shows an unprecedented degree of uncertainty, with an open end.
Different analysts attribute the low voter turnout to citizens’ democratic disenchantment with a political class that has not yet resolved the main problems they diagnose, but which successive governments of different political stripes have not managed to overcome: poverty, inflation, the economic crisis, the insecurity. A country that has had more than 40% of the population in poverty for years, where 6 out of every 10 children and adolescents are poor and where having employment, even formal employment, is not enough to guarantee a basic level of income.
Women are affected by this situation more deeply, as is often the case. They are overrepresented among the most disadvantaged sectors of society, they are more likely to have informal or part-time employment, they are generally in charge of single-parent households which, in 50% of cases, when they are entitled to alimony for Their sons and daughters are unable to collect their payment. Women who experience violence in their partners in a proportion that affects one in two women, who are victims of feminicide every 39 hours and for whom turning to Justice usually means submitting to a labyrinth of bureaucracy that does not necessarily manage to protect them from violence. more extreme.
For women of different generations, the overload of care finds them in situations of profound inequality in access to services and infrastructure to alleviate their care responsibilities, and this is still seen as a not very urgent agenda in the face of the economic crisis and the demand for reversing the fiscal deficit despite the evidence that shows that better care policies could contribute to reversing the current situation.
Even so, in these elections we are not talking to women or about the most concrete and urgent problems that affect their daily lives. In the monitoring of electoral campaigns that we carry out from the ELA Team, we found few proposals directed at them, with a scarcity of words that challenge them, that recognize the role they play in many families.
Javier Milei is the candidate who has women least present in his proposals or who directly confronts the demands of the equality agenda and promises to reverse them. Anchored in the disqualification of everything that is linked to feminism, without distinction of agendas (abortion, violence, employment), strategies or priorities, the libertarian diatribe is limited to shouting half-hearted slogans that show little interest in improving the conditions of life based on concrete proposals. Although opinion studies carried out both before and after the primary elections indicate that women are the ones who choose this political force the least, it should not be only them (us) who resist a proposal that frontally attacks the most basic postulates of the equality. Those of us who claim the achievements of democracy in terms of advances in rights, especially for gender equality, but also for social justice and access to economic and social rights, aspire that the struggles and achievements led by women do not They are just a demand for the gender agenda.
The primary elections leave a worrying message: rights seem like an empty discourse for many people who see with fear how their daily lives are crumbling in an economic crisis that does not seem to end. However, at a time when reality hits harshly in the face of so many still unresolved injustices, it is necessary to remember that rights are not just a rhetorical language but rather become a tool of struggle, of enforceability, that can contribute to the organization collective in the face of a reality that confronts us with threats and setbacks.
As part of a group that has been the protagonist of the milestones that we define as cornerstones of democracy, it is necessary to question empty slogans to look ahead to the future. For this reason, we propose to continue appealing to the women and men of the political class and to society as a whole to resist the threats of regression, to continue looking for feasible solutions and concrete proposals to the complex problems that directly impact the lives of women in their entirety. diversity and that cross society as a whole.
Natalia Gherardi is a lawyer and executive director of ELA – Latin American Justice and Gender Team.
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