#25N: Is celebrated? International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

As every November 25, this Monday marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Date that calls us to review and rethink some data and measures taken by the last management.

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This date and its corresponding march close the “feminist calendar” and like every end of the year it is an opportunity to take stock, in addition to this on the occasion of the early change of government, which invites us to extend the analysis to management four years of President Mauricio Macri.

Thus, for example, at the beginning of the current month the Minister of Security Patricia Bullrich shared in her networks the data on femicides relieved by the portfolio she is in charge of, together with the phrase, in a festive tone like who celebrates an achievement, “We lower the femicides 12.1%! ” This statement, which refers to the amount of femicides of the year 2018 compared to that of 2017 (according to that information, 281 and 292, respectively), in addition to being factually incorrect, is an image of an erroneous perspective on the macho violence that explains largely the action (or lack of action) in gender policy of the outgoing government.

First, the numbers presented by Bullrich differ from those registered by the Women’s Office of the Supreme Court of Justice. According to the latter, the figures are 278 for 2018 and 273 for 2017, so it would be the opposite of the alleged reduction alleged by the minister.

According to Chequeado, the difference between the two statistics would be that in the case of the Ministry “as with other types of crimes, their figures come from police records. That is to say that it is the first post-crime analysis, before the start of the judicial investigation. ” Instead, the Women’s Office relieves information on the legal cases in process. This disparity of data should not be a problem for those corresponding to the current year, since the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Security and the Attorney General’s Office have signed an agreement to unify femicide statistics. However, we will have to wait until 2020 for the report to be published.

Meanwhile, although the official data is not possessed, the work of some feminist organizations that, as part of their militancy and without receiving any compensation, do a thorough monthly survey based on the information obtained in the media Communication. In this regard, the Mumalá National Observatory has registered 226 femicides between January 1 and October 31, 2019, not counting 38 cases under investigation, which means at least one victim every 32 hours. Broken down, this number includes 192 direct femicides, 18 linked and 6 trans / transvestites. Another relevant indicator is that 68% of the murders were perpetrated by either the couple (40%) or the former partner (28%) of the victims. Considering that 18% of them had made prior complaints, the question that arises immediately after reading these data is where the State is and what is the true scope of the policies that it has been implementing regarding gender violence.

A success of the year 2019 was undoubtedly the approval of the Micaela Law, which according to its article 1 stipulates “mandatory training in the subject of gender and violence against women for all people who work in the public service at all levels and hierarchies in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the Nation ”.

However, if we look more closely at the work of the INAM (National Women’s Institute), a body designated as the authority for the application of that law and in charge of other gender policies, the balance has not been positive. Despite having been ranked in 2017 acquiring the rank of Secretary of State within the Ministry of Social Development, this did not translate into an appropriate budget and in fact this was cut annually.

The gender specialist journalist, Mariana Carbajal, says in her note on Page 12 that, “after the complaint of human rights organizations and women, Congress increased the items assigned to it by the Executive Branch, but those increases did not cover inflation: in 2018 the INAM budget was 15 percent lower in real terms than in 2017 and in 2019, the reduction (also in real terms) compared to last year was 16 percent ”. As logically the budget deficit hinders the execution, it is understandable that, as the note reports, of the 36 shelters for women survivors of gender-based violence that Macri had promised, only 9 have been completed and equipped, of which 8 had begun to be built during the previous government.

All this allows us to affirm that, although during these four years there was some progress, such as the explicit inclusion of gender in the national budget, they were not enough. This is because, fundamentally, it is still necessary for the State to take a stand against this type of violence as a structural problem.

Far from functioning as any crime, the security and punitive approach is inadequate and, despite what Bullrich has said, the figures for femicides have not dropped. Assuming that there had been about ten fewer victims between one year and another, isn’t it alarming that they still exceed 200 annually? Obviously, much remains to be done, not only from the Ministry of Security, but entirely from the entire state apparatus.

Just as gender is transversal and inequality is reproduced in all social spheres (in politics, in the economy, etc.), gender violence is not limited to femicide or physical violence, but, for example, Criminalization of abortion is also a form of violence against pregnant people. In this sense,the latest news regarding the update of the protocol for the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy (ILE) was another attack on sexual and reproductive rights. In turn, it served as a reminder of the unfortunate decision that the government made this year to transform the Ministry of Health into a Secretariat, taking away the margin of decision (in fact, the reason used to justify the cancellation was the lack of consultation of the secretary to his superior). Since we are talking about cabinet portfolios, the promise of President-elect Alberto Fernández to inaugurate the Ministry of Gender Equality is at least hopeful. We also hope that the new administration that will assume this December 10 can redirect strategies against sexist violence to give reins to the profound cultural change that is necessary to really end it.

Of course, the claim to the State for answers is not a simple wait with crossed arms: the feminist movement remains active in the streets and the slogan Ni Una menos remains more current than ever, because beyond the number of victims of femicide and of the percentages in which they vary, as long as there is at least one dead there will be nothing to celebrate.


Mariana Barrios Glanzmann
Cecilia Bustos Moreschi, cecilia.bustos.moreschi@fundeps.org