Argentina’s women step into greater leadership with new surge

Vanessa de la Fuente – WNN Opinion

Argentina women's rights banner
A human rights slogan for the new Argentinian Feminist Party (PAF in Spanish) says, 'Revolution in the park, in the house, in the bed.' Image: Vanessa de la Fuente

(WNN) OPINION Buenos Aires, Argentina: One hundred years ago Argentinian feminist pioneer Julieta Lanteri took the word “Boldness” to the maximum allowed for a woman at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1911 the city of Buenos Aires asked everyone in all neighborhoods to sign the electoral roll for its upcoming municipal elections. Even though women were not allowed to vote, it was then Julieta found out that nothing was said about gender requirements, so she enrolled to vote at St. John Evangelist Parish in La Boca, which was near her home.

On the November 26th election day Julieta became the first woman to vote in Argentina. This was 38 years before another pioneer, Eva Peron, pushed for the 1949 law that recognized the right for all women in Argentina to vote.

Lanteri was a revolutionary in many senses. In spite of opposition from doctors at the university where she was studying to become a doctor, Juliet became one of only five women to become a physician in Argentina in the first decade of the 20th Century. She also organized the First International Congress on Feminism in Latin America, also known as the National Feminist Party, as she made bid after bid in an attempt to be the first woman to reach Argentina’s Parliament.

Before her dreams of an equal society for women were fully established, Julieta died in a car accident at the age of 58 in 1932. She had worked for many years to bring equality with fair work hours, maternity leave benefits, protective medicine,  the legalization of divorce and so much more to the women of Argentina.

Julieta’s revolution didn’t die with her though.

It was in a round table, a cold night in July 2011, in one of the hundreds Pubs in Palermo – a trendy and avant-garde area of the city, well known for artists, designers and writers – where a group of women found out not only what was necessary for women to be widely represented in power position; it was power itself that needed to be changed. So, they decided to start the new Argentinian Feminist Party (PAF in Spanish) and give “A Slap to Patriarchy”- as slogan says.

Argentinian woman poets, journalists, psychologists, researchers, bloggers, business women and grass root leaders all have different names today, but they all want to be called Julieta when talking publicly.

“We believe in equality and in a new style of power… We’re all Julieta Lanteri. Our name is Julieta for the world…,” they say. “For us, Feminism is a way to look and shape the world according to gender equality.”

Give a slap to Patriarchy is open to everyone in Argentina, not only women: “We call all Argentinian citizens, without distinction of race, gender, sex, belief, race, profession, hobby, past, future, to join our movement upon the principles of feminism, to build a more equitable representation for people in social, political and economic areas.”

Having a strong women president in Argentina is just the beginning. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez just took her oath of office for her second term as president with an electoral lead of over 60 percent.

Women are now working together to dig deeper into campaigns that are working to improve reproductive health; human trafficking, sexual exploitation and all forms of slavery; separation of church and state and many other issues for women. Women have great expectations for empowerment and equality in Argentina. “We have been actively involved…,’ they say.

Julieta’s new revolution has led PAF to join forces with women, and their families, everywhere to strengthen the power of women through action everywhere in Argentina. They are spreading a message, “Together with other organizations, we ran an ‘open radio’ in the suburbs on November 25th where we spread our message and invite the neighbors to express their views about gender issues and women’s rights.”


WNN – Women News Network women rights in culture columnist and social critic Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente  is a feminist Muslim from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Born in Chile, Rivera is also an enthusiastic speaker on issues of gender and empowerment who has led volunteer programs for rural communities in the Peruvian highlands. Vanessa believes strongly in the power of words to change the world.


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