Yesterday was International Women's Day, here there and everywhere. If you're like me, and live in the United States, you have only recently become aware of this celebratory event. I have a vague recollection of hearing about it in 1996ish, when the Dalai Lama went to China to commemorate the occasion. I believe there were scarves given as gifts.
But here in Chile it's a bit of a big deal. Considering that divorce and reproductive rights are of paramount importance to women, and that the first was legalized about three years ago, and the second continues to be a tremendous fight (the availability of plan B/morning after pill has been particularly polemical recently, and abortion is not only illegal but criminal), well you can guess how excited people get about this event. There's also the issue of equal-pay for equal work, which may transport you back to the 1970s in the United States. Somethimes I think that 40 year lapse is just about right. According to the organizers of the event, women earn something like 30% less than men for the same work. There is also (of course) no municipally-funded child care, and no child care during the "mall schedule" which is what most young/undereducated women will work.
For the people representing the 132 women, daughters all, who were disappeared or executed by the military dictatorship it was a platform on which to talk about something that alot of the country wishes would just disappear already. It's in the past, they say. The communists were there as well, never missing an opportunity to bring their cause to the fray. Latin America for Palestine showed up, as well as a bunch of other fringe groups of questionable connection to the event at hand.
Like these folks, the evangelists who came to see us off (kidding, they often give concerts/perform at Estación Central, the starting point).
And despite the dictatorship talk and the other seriousness, it was fun. It was celebratory. We marched and walked, chanted lemas (slogans) like the above, and generally made a ruckus. The whole thing ended up in Paseo Bulnes with speeches and music and celebration.
My favorite sign award, both for its beautiful use of complex grammatical tenses and its message, goes to this young woman: (her sign reads: If men gave birth, abortion would be law.
Here are the ladies marching for the 132 executed compatriots:
These women are protesting to decriminalize abortion, and I just really liked the shot.
Here we have a combination of tiny protester mixed with an anti-dictatorship message:
Another tiny protester, this wee one is tired of exclusion and violence against women.
And this, everyone's favorite tiny protester, the darling of the event, deserves love and respect. Unfortunately, she also deserves a judicious application of spellcheck. Then again, she is only about three. (the word for "I deserve" is spelled with a z, not an s)
And the winner of the "wow, didn't expect to see you here" award is this gent, who, when not on the phone was totally participating in the proceedings. Go him.
Hope you enjoyed today's slice of Chile. I only wish Anthony Bourdain could have had a taste (see previous entry).