Ni Una Menos

The movement Ni Una Menos[1] rises up in 2015 in Argentina in protest against violence towards women. That year, there was special media coverage of several murders of women. It burst into non-specialized public opinion a debate regarding femicidio to describe those violent deaths of women perpetrated in the private sphere that until then were qualified as passion crimes.

Media exposure, thorough, morbid, and truculent description of femicidios, has acted in several dimensions. First, it ended up being a regrettable incentive for the reproduction of similar actions[2], for the thirst for being recognized and appearing in the media. Second, the repetitive and frequent review of femicidios brings an apparent validation of not being an isolated case but rather a more widely accepted phenomenon, the naturalization of violence[3]. Furthermore, the re-victimization of women, trying to exculpate or mitigate the male’s violent act by focusing on the clothes she was wearing, the time and/or place where she was, whether she liked to go out at night, as if any of these characteristics could act as justifiers of the violent act. Forth, in many femicidios a pattern with systemic roots was made explicit in the own definition of femicidios by the patriarchal structure of society. The objectification of women as undeniable property of and freely available to males, especially when there might be some emotional bond (dating, marriage). The characterization of these crimes as passion crimes giving them an aura of romanticism that might imply a blindness and even expiation of the violent character of those crimes. Many femicidios happen when woman says no, that she does not want to continue with the relationship, that she does not want to remain confined to the domestic sphere, and that she wants to get out to work, study, socialize with other people, also when after the separation she claims part of the matrimonial assets or the custody of the children.

The catalyst for the creation of the movement Ni Una Menos was the news regarding Chiara Perez’s femicidio, a young pregnant woman of 14 years old, murdered by his boyfriend in the city of Rufino (Santa Fe province) and the publication of journalist Marcela Ojeda’s tweet the following day (May, 11th, 2015) saying: “Actresses, (women) politicians, artists, entrepreneurs, social referents … women, well, all, aren’t we going to raise our voices? WE ARE BEING KILLED.” Many tweets followed, women journalists, communicators, artists. Due to wide dissemination in social media and the support of many personalities from politics, arts, and communications, the mobilization of 250,000-300,000 people is achieved in the Capital district and many replications of similar gatherings in 120 other parts of the country.

The website of this Collective recognizes as precedents the three decades of Encuentros Nacionales de Mujeres (National Women’s Meetings), Campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito (National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion), Madres y Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo), LGBTER movements and other groups of women that gathered and organized to defend their rights (labor unions, picket, indigenous, afro-descendent movements).

Ni Una Menos started organized by a group of women journalists and communicators and it expanded to encompass various collectives of women and individuals without formal, traditional participation. It has a website (niunamenos.org.ar) and uses social media to post directives, proclamations, and declarations. It is presented as a “collective that reunites a group of feminist wills, but also it is a motto and a social movement, plural and heterogeneous[4]. Maria Galindo says: “Ni Una Menos is not a movement but a mobilization. It has no owners or architects. It is not a spontaneous fungus, it is a rebellion lead by women from the bottom[5].” In Cecila Palmeiro’s words, who is one of the organizers: “The group is like that, there is no structure, it is a motto that people take ownership. Anybody says that she is and becomes Ni Una Menos, it is an appropriable thing and that is what is best of all. Ni Una Menos is not just our collective, it’s a move such as Anonymous. They are ways of action of the digital era[6].” There is a network of activists throughout the country that relates through social media, thus, calling action in that way, particularly mobilizations in main parks of the country for March 8th, June 3rd, and October 19th. “Our methodology is assembly-like and in such search, it produces horizontality, transversality, and intersectionality. Our word is amplified in the anonymity and in the proliferation of the collective name[7].”

Ni Una Menos has publicly manifested, in the discourse with declarations and in the streets with their bodies in various parks of Argentina and replications, inspirations, and associations with other collectives of women and dissents in other countries supporting mobilizations of March 8th, women strikes, demands for Santiago Maldonado killed by gendarmerie repression, labor-unions mobilizations, in favor of massive apostasies and effective separation of church/s and State, National Women’s Meetings. The agenda of demands and awareness tasks are leaving more and more the private sphere and firmly establishing themselves in the public arena.

The directive that gave birth to and name the movement in 2015 was inspired by a poem wrote by Susana Chavez in 1995 regarding femicidios in the city of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico “Ni una muerta más” (not one additional woman killed), she herself became a victim of femicidio[8]. Original demands included the implementation with budget allocation of the 2009 Law against violence towards women[9], elaboration and dissemination of official statistics on violence against women[10], opening of Domestic Violence Offices in the Supreme Court of every province, electronic monitoring of aggressors to enforce restriction orders to effectively protect the victims[11]; guaranteeing access of victims to the justice system with free legal assistance, creation of shelters, implementation of Integral Sexual Education with gender perspective, training on male violence for State officials.

Since then, mobilizations have taken place, widening the scope of their directives. In 2006, they were “Not one (woman) less, we want us alive, complete, autonomous and sovereign.” Reactions occurred against the incarceration of Belen when she arrived at the hospital with a spontaneous abortion; uncontrolled police repression during the National Women’s Meeting in October 2015, the tranvesticide of leader Diana Sacayan, scrapping of programs of Integral Sexual Education and protection of victims of gender violence done by the neoliberal government, outrageous cuts in public programs whose main injured party are women, the misogynous and macho revenge implicit in the incarceration of political prisoner Milagro Salas.

In 2017, the directive was ever more political and questioning of the State’s (in)-action: “Stop femicidios, the State is responsible” and “we want us alive, free, and out-of-debt.” The demands were for the release of Milagro Salas, other eleven political prisoners from the organization Tupac Amaru, and Higui Dejesus who was detained for defending herself against a rape presented as “corrective” of her lesbianism. They manifested against external debt owed to IMF and in favor of the depenalization of abortion. “For those women disappeared due to the networks of human trafficking, with wide complicities from agents of the State. Against the police State and the femicidios with official weapons, because the easy answers of “more jails, harder sentences” do not work, they arrive when we are already dead and there are no prevention policies.” Demands against situations of inequality and discrimination based on the gender gap are strengthened: “Because our working days are, on average, three hours longer than those of men; reproductive and care work fall on our shoulders and has no value in the labor market. Because working women are exposed to cut backs on their rights, salaries, and are subjected to the threat of unemployment and disciplining by productivity. Because unemployment grows two points when talking about women, because salary gap is, on average, 27%.”

In 2018, the directives were “Without abortion there is no Not one woman less. No to the pact with IMF.” The demands are installed in the socioeconomic sphere, against adjustment policies and massive layoffs. “We want us out-of-debt, against the expropriation of our time and work by the financial disciplining.” Transvesticides became visible, particularly with the awareness that life expectancy for trans people is no more than 35 years, in countries where life expectancy for the general population is over 70 years. Institutional racist policies against migrants were denounced and demands for the effective implementation of the Integral Sexual Education in schools continued. “‘Not one woman less’ for clandestine abortions is heard. ‘Not one woman less’ against territorial femicidios in Latin America in the hands of state and para-state repressive forces.”

By 2019, the systemic framework of the directives was clear: “Not one woman less for sexist, economic, racist, classist violence to infringed identities. Legal abortion now and down with the government’s adjustment and IMF.” As the movement agenda further extended and deepened based on a systemic perspective, Ni Una Menos obtained more strength, permanence, and visibility. It enabled the articulation of actions with larger number and diversity of movements, social and political actors, national and international. More than specific, individual complaints, the agenda became politicized questioning the foundations of the patriarchal-macho-colonizing structure that prevails in our societies. There were demands not only for laws and rights but also for alternative ways of mobilization and making articulated politics, recovering community and sorority. Awareness is set on protecting us against subduing of minds, formatting of subjectivities, cooptation of wills as this exploitation system, that constantly reinvests itself, has accustomed us.


[1] . Name of the movement, which could be translated as “Not one woman less.”

[2] . Te voy a quemar como a Wanda (I will burn you as Wanda) Facultad de Periodismo y Comunicación Social (School of journalism and social communication) , Universidad Nacional de La Plata (National University of La Plata), https://perio.unlp.edu.ar/node/901

[3] . “Suffering and aggression imposed to women’s body, as well as the spectacularization, trivialization, and naturalization of violence … misogynous cruelty … such is the pedagogy that makes masses habituated to living with arbitrariness, the non-grammatical margin of human life, with the finally fictional character of institutions.” Rita Segato, La guerra contra las mujeres (The war against women). Traficantes de sueños, 2016, pp.

[4] Charter: Carta Orgánica en http://niunamenos.org.ar

[5] . María Galindo, Ni Una Menos Argentina: la rebelión de las mujeres de abajo (Ni Una Menos Argentina: the rebellion of women from below), Mujeres Creando, Bolivia, March, 5th, 2017

[6] . Quoted by Romina Accossatto and Mariana Sendra in Movimientos feministas en la era digital. Las estrategias comunicacionales del movimiento Ni Una Menos (Feminist movements in the digital era. Communicational strategies of the movement Ni Una Menos). Revista de Ciencias Humanas, Teoría Social y Pensamiento Crítico, Year 6 N° 8, August-December 2018, pp. 117-136

[7] . Amistad, policía e inteligencia colectiva (Friendship, pólice, and collective intelligence). Documentos y manifiestos 2015/2018. Ni Una Menos. December 2018, p. 4.

[8] . Carmela Torres, “Susana Chávez, un origen de #NiUnaMenos”, La Izquierda Diario, June, 3rd, 2018

[9] . Law 26,485 Integral protection to prevent, sanction, and eradicate violent towards women in fields where their interpersonal relationships are developed.

[10] . Until then, statistics regarding femicidios came from the Argentinean Observatory on Femicidios Adriana Marisel Zambrano of the NGO La Casa del Encuentro, created in 2009 after Marisel’s femicidio, 29 years old woman, killed by her husband Jose Manuel Zerda beaten and kicked to death, and then abandoned her body lying in bed with their 9-month old baby girl.

[11].  Many victims of femicidio are women that, on repeated occasions, have already presented allegations of violence before the police and other State departments, but are usually dismissed as “marital problems” that will be resolved by themselves, and even in various cases women died at the hands of those who were denounced and recognized as attackers in previous occasions, violating restriction orders for the protection of the victim, with complicity and/or negligence of those who are in charge of assuring the effective compliance with laws and enforcement of sentences.

If you like this text, by filling out the form that appears in this page you can subscribe to receive once a month a brief summary of Opinion Sur English edition.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *