Welcome to #NiUnaMenos.
Right now there's a gender violence crisis happening in Argentina.
The gender motivated killing of women is called "femicide," and Argentina has one of the worst rates of femicide in the world. It's a terrifying problem, and one that experts say is intertwined with a culture of "machismo" and misogyny in the country. Some reports indicate that one woman is killed about every 30 hours in Argentina.
But Argentinian women are taking the conversation about femicide into their own hands, and it's been incredibly cool to watch.
They've started to fight back through a campaign called #NiUnaMenos, which means "not one less."
Here's what you need to know about the protests:
On May 6, 2015, the body of a 14-year-old pregnant girl, Ciara Paez, was found dead in her boyfriend's garden in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was another tragic victim of femicide. Paez was beaten to death by her boyfriend, whose mother had also participated in the crime. Paez was just one of many femicide victims under the age of 20 to be killed this past spring, but her murder was the one that sparked the #NiUnaMenos movement.
Following Paez's murder, journalist Marcela Ojeda posted a tweet that read, "They are killing us: Aren't we going to do anything?" with the now famous #NiUnaMenos hashtag.
The message of this tweet sent shockwaves throughout Buenos Aires, and three weeks later, tens of thousands of women took to the streets to protest gender violence.
The #NiUnaMenos movement is a brave and urgent cry for women's rights.
Lo personal es político. Nuestro comunicado ante las declaraciones de Scioli https://t.co/HOP5t2HWik#NiUnaMenospic.twitter.com/rxaEEqB6CQ
— Raqui Vivanco (@raquelvivanco) October 17, 2015
#NiUnaMenos | "Ayúdenme a evitar mi femicidio". El relato en primera persona ► http://t.co/ZONmjf4fNspic.twitter.com/lEYI4BpyjI
— INFOnews (@INFOnews) October 15, 2015
And now the men of Argentina have started to join the movement, too.
In a show of solidarity with #NiUnaMenos, hundreds of men walked through the streets of Buenos Aires last week wearing skirts.
Esta tarde los varones también se movilizan x #UnoMasxNiUnaMenos A las 17, zona Congreso #NIUnaMenospic.twitter.com/jkJJxYfpiL
— #NiUnaMenos LaOjeda (@Marcelitaojeda) November 5, 2015
Why? Business Standard reported that one of the skirted protesters said that the protest was a way to teach his son about gender equality. "This march was very useful to convey to my son [...] there is no privilege in being a male," he said.
The men standing with #NiUnaMenos say that they want to help redefine masculinity.
Hombres con polleras marcharon en distintas ciudades bajo la consigna #unomasxniunamenoshttps://t.co/bt0tfS0lu2pic.twitter.com/QOdFOeI2oE
— LA NACION (@LANACION) November 6, 2015
They want to convey the message that men are not superior to women and do not "wear the pants" in society or in personal relationships.
By walking proudly through the streets wearing skirts, the male protestors also wanted to demonstrate that there is nothing shameful about a man in a skirt and that true shame lies with men who commit violence against women.
The lesson here? Maybe equality is possible if we can combine forces.
We have a long way to go, yes. Men hold positions of social privilege all over the world. But in Argentina, it's amazing to see what can happen when men use that privilege to support women's rights. It gives me hope for the gender struggles faced by people living in every country on our planet.
I also believe that #NiUnaMenos is an incredible example of how a community effort can lead to empowerment and how men also have an important role to play in the fight for women's rights.