Feminism in Argentina: a walk along “the feminist trail” in Buenos Aires
In 2015, under the banner call of #NiUnaMenos (Not One (Woman) Less), thousands of Argentinians, mostly women, marched towards the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires to protest gender violence and femicide.
This unprecedented uprising of women made it to the covers of dozens of international newspapers and rapidly grew into both a regional and global movement.
Although this protest has laid the foundations for several initiatives and ever since it first took place, women’s rights in Argentina have taken a 180º turn, bringing a lot of previously unspoken topics to the table, the story of “feminism” in Argentina began much earlier in time.
If you are coming to Buenos Aires and would like to learn more about the fight for Women’s equality and rights in the country, we recommend you to go for a walk to Puerto Madero. Along its modern and wide streets, you will read the names of the most inspiring Argentine women who made history by changing Argentina’s society from the inside.
Continue reading this blog post for instructions to go on a self-guided walking tour along “the feminist trail” in Buenos Aires.
The history of feminism in Argentina – a brief summary:
Feminism is a movement created to defend and achieve equal social, political and economic rights for women.
In Argentina, these “revolutionary” ideas emerged in the early 19th century, and the movement grew even more with the massive European immigration wave during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At first, they fought for access to higher education and later, for legal rights.
Getting the legal right to vote was one of the most important issues in the agenda, but the law allowing it was not passed until 1947 (it may seem ridiculously late when compared to New Zealand – which became the first self-governing country in the world in which women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections in 1893 – but also quite advanced in comparison with other nations – in some Swiss “states” women were not allowed to vote until 1997).
Sometimes we take all these rights for granted (especially the younger generations). That is where the importance of “International Women’s Day” lies in. Celebrated on March 8th, it aims to focus global attention on the state of women when it comes to gender equality, bias, stereotypes and discrimination. But even perhaps most importantly, it is a yearly reminder of the steep road women had to walk through in order to get to where they are today and it honors all the brave women who fought for what women have nowadays.
A self-guided walking tour along “the feminist” trail in Buenos Aires:
Among Buenos Aires’ 48 districts (barrios) there is one that stands out when it comes to women’s rights and feminism: Puerto Madero.
The refurbished old port, turned into the city’s most modern and fanciest neighborhood at the beginning of the XXI century, is the only district in town where all streets are named after women. Moreover, all of its squares are as well, and its most symbolic monument also honors the Argentine ladies.
If you are interested in knowing more about the history of women’s rights in Argentina, here are the directions for this self-guided walk:
Start of the trail: “The font of the Nereids” by Lola Mora.
Location: Av. Dr. Tristán Achával Rodríguez 1401, Puerto Madero.
Although never self-referenced as an activist for women’s rights, the artist, Lola Mora, suffered many injustices and discrimination just for being a woman.
She struggled to make her way with hammer blows and by clutching her chisel in a world in which what she intended to achieve was only meant to be for men. Lola spent most of her artistic career surrounded by scandal and eventually had to pay a high price for opposing the social conventions of her time.
Born in 1867, Lola, who was a professional sculptress, a friend of artists, an independent woman living in Italy and constantly surrounded by men, was regarded as a prostitute by the conservatives of Buenos Aires.
Even her most famous and controversial work (which you can appreciate at the beginning of this trail) was considered immoral because of the nudity that it presents.
Despite some malicious gossip about the male models that inspired her, and the rumors which questioned her authorship, the piece fascinated the public and its opening became a grand open ceremony.
Second stop: Julieta Lanteri St.
Location: Intersection between Rosario Vera Peñaloza St. and Julieta Lanteri St., Puerto Madero.
Born in Italy in 1873, her family came to Argentina when she was a child.
She was an activist for women’s rights in Argentina. She got a degree in Pharmacology and, later, enrolled at the medical school. She became the fifth woman to get a medical degree, in 1907, and she was the first woman who voted in our country and in Latin America in 1911.
How was that even possible when the law allowing women to vote was passed in 1947?
Well, at that moment, regulations said that in order to vote you needed: to enroll yourself (gender was not asked), to be educated, and to be a citizen living in the country. She realized she fulfilled all the requirements and at the voting nobody could deny her the right to vote! How clever, right!?
After such a “shocking” and unexpected event, and to avoid having thousands of women wanting to vote during future elections, the Electoral Law was amended and military service was required to be allowed to vote (only men were required and allowed to military service). This was just a bump in the road. It was only a matter of time…
In 2019, a new underground station in Buenos Aires was named after her. Located in Recoleta Neighborhood, near the School of Law of the University of Buenos Aires’ building, it belongs to “Line H”.
Third stop: Juana Manso St.
Location: intersection between Rosario Vera Peñaloza St. and Juana Manso St., Puerto Madero.
Renowned journalist, translator, writer, and teacher.
She set the basis for a radical change in education. She considered students should not just receive information and accept it but they had to use that information to create their own ideas instead.
Can you imagine the general reaction to her new concepts around the 1850’s?
Fourth stop: Parque Mujeres Argentinas (“Argentine Women’s Park”).
Location: Intersection between Marta Lynch St. and Juana Manso St., Puerto Madero.
Inaugurated in 2007, it pays tribute to Argentina’s women and is planted with typical native trees: jacarandas, araucarias, magnolias and tipas.
The park has a large central square, and different levels offering a fantastic panoramic view of Buenos Aires’ most modern district.
Fifth Stop: Macacha Güemes St.
Location: Intersection between Juana Manso St. and Macacha Güemes St., Puerto Madero.
Born in 1866 in Argentina’s north-west, Macacha Güemes learnt to read when she was only 5 years old in a time in which formal education was a privilege only men could ever dream of.
During Argentina’s Independence Wars, far from staying at home, she took active part and contributed to Argentina’s victory by getting information from the enemy army and giving it to the local forces.
Sixth stop: Alicia Moreau de Justo Av.
Location: intersection between Macacha Güemes St. and Alicia Moreau de Justo Av., Puerto Madero.
Born in 1885, Alicia Moreau de Justo was 101 years old when she died, and is known for being a leading figure in the history of feminism in Argentina.
She fought for gender equality and became one of the first women to get a medical degree. In those years, it was very difficult for women to have access to education, let alone to the university, so that was really extraordinary, to the point where she became an essential reference for other women.
She also fought for women to have the legal right to vote, and had a very intense political activity, being mostly recognized as the founder of the Feminist Socialist Center of Argentina.
Seventh stop: “Puente de la Mujer” (Women’s Bridge)
Location: Alicia Moreau de Justo Av. 740, Puerto Madero.
It was inaugurated in 2001 and was designed by the (in)famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
It has a really modern design, and the central arm rotates in case a small ship needs to cross from one dock to the other one and get to Río de la Plata.
The floor was recently renovated using 100.000 plastic bottles (instead of using timber!).
Last stop: “Plaza de Mayo” (May Square) – Eva Perón
Once at the square, take a close look at the pink building located on one of its sides.
Known as “Casa Rosada” (pink house) by locals, this is perhaps the most important public building in the country: the seat of the executive power and therefore, the official workplace of Argentina’s president.
Pay attention to the balconies, as you may recognize some of them from “Evita”, by Alan Parker.
María Eva Duarte de Perón is not only the last woman covered in this trail, but also one of the most well known Argentine figures around the world.
Born in a rural area in Buenos Aires province in 1919 into a humble family, her life took a 180º turn when she met Gral. Juan Domingo Perón while being an actress in Buenos Aires.
They fell in love at first sight and got married. A short time later, he was elected President, so she became the First Lady.
Despite being unusual at the time, she decided to have an active role in politics. Labor rights were a great concern for her, but social rights were her number one priority.
She is mostly claimed for having brought a long-time-ago established fight to the end by actively pushing for the Women’s Voting Law to be passed in 1947.
She also created the “Eva Perón Foundation” to help humble families and, especially women, creating homes for them to stay when they did not have other options.
An important avenue located in the west of Buenos Aires was named after her, and a silhouette of her face decorates two sides of the Ministry of Social Development’s building.
Writing about Eva is one of the hardest things to do. One hundred pages could be easily written about her and still a lot would have to be left out.
If you are genuinely interested in exploring her whole life in detail, we suggest you take a look at our Private Evita and Peronism Historical Tour in Buenos Aires, a 3 hours private tour around Buenos Aires’ most significant places regarding Eva and Peronism’s history, where one of our professional english-speaking tour guides will tell you everything there is to know about two of the most controversial figures in Argentina’s history, bringing every story to life with their live commentary full of background information, facts and insights that you will not be able to find in any book or travel guide.
Get a map of “the feminist trail” in Buenos Aires:
Submit the form below and get the link sent to your email! What does it include?
- Directions to do the trail on your own.
- Information about every stop.