We are in a period in which more than a decade of social mobilization is beginning to express itself in institutional transformations. The social outbreak of 2019 was the culmination of a long process of reconstitution of collective actors: the student movements, the territorial movements, against the AFPs, the new feminisms and sexual diversity. All of them have expressed deep discontent towards the neoliberal model and its restrictive institutional framework, questioning not only the lack of democracy in public spaces, but also in those conventionally considered private and untouchable by political disputes.
The feminist field has a remarkably diverse composition, both among the people who demonstrate in the street, or in their educational establishments, and among those who are not going to demonstrate in the street, but who have adopted the feminist discourse and raise it even in public instances. institutional and political.
This cultural impact of feminist discourse is possibly its greatest success, challenging patriarchy and its heterosexual mandate, which pigeonholes and organizes gender identities and relationships. The feminist field is also tending to articulate discourses and practices with the demands regarding the environment, fundamentally, and indigenous worlds. In the context of the loss of the hegemonic discourse of the trade union movement, other currents emerge, such as feminism and environmentalism, which begin to replace this global discourse of understanding of the entire society. Even feminisms have expanded the very concept of work, making care and domestic tasks visible as real work, which in combination with the capitalist patriarchal order has fallen mostly and “without salary and without hours” on the backs of women.
feminisms are a great speech, which is coherent for diverse experiences. There is a basic one around substantive gender equality, but it also contains diverse problems that reflect the complexity of society where the gender order intersects with other oppressions, such as class, sexual orientation and identity, ethnicity, linked in our case with the native peoples, Afro-descendants and with migrations, or geographical, where the specific territory that is occupied defines brutal inequalities in the quality of life.
Therefore, the demands of feminisms point to problems that call the whole society. The majority discourse of Chilean feminism in recent years has focused on gender violence, denouncing femicides, street harassment, violence in universities and secondary schools, to which other forms of violence have been added. A second line points to the shortcomings in relation to the exercise of sexuality and reproductive capacities, both in the validation of the multiplicity of bodies and experiences and in the possibility of deciding on their own lives, expressed in the demands for legal abortion and sex education.
Added to this is the problem of recognizing unpaid care work, which was present in the issue of the feminist strikes on March 8 and became particularly evident during the quarantines resulting from the COVID pandemic. approach from a perspective intersectional is, on the other hand, less developed. Discourses that manage to articulate the demands of gender and class, such as the particularities of women with double shifts and job insecurity, for example, or those of women from native peoples, or the combination of these oppressions with those of people from the sexual dissidence, are still under construction.
All of this complicates and enriches the articulation that is not free of tensions between those who participate in grassroots organizations, self-convened and convoked, and those who also express themselves in political parties, currently quite weak and relatively more porous to this type of demands, even in limited right sectors. Within the parties of the new left, feminist policies have also been much more than was ever expected, and in some cases women have become the most legitimate spokespersons for the entire party.
This complex movement now faces the challenge of translating these political-cultural successes of the feminist mobilization into processes of institutional change: the drafting and approval of a new Constitution and the installation of a Government made up largely of the protagonists of the protests in recent years. The translation of social demand into institutional transformations is a complicated and challenging task, particularly for those who are carrying it out, even more so in the current correlation of political and social forces. After two years of the pandemic, in Chilean society the desire for change is still present, but the tiredness caused by the quarantines and the perception of the economic crisis and the increase in violence weigh on a desire for these changes to occur, but that order is also restored.
Both in the Constitutional Convention and in the installation of the new Government there have been advances in terms of participation and inclusion that are undoubtedly important. In the election of the constituents, the notion of parity in terms of gender was installed, along with quotas for native peoples. As a result, the proposed Constitution includes the main demands of the movement in terms of rights.
The Government’s gestures have also affirmed the position of women and diversities in the spaces of power. But without a doubt, the greatest challenge will be in translating these rights into public policies that really change the situation of women and gender diversity. We know that the greatest costs of the pandemic have been paid by the less privileged; that poverty has increased and is forecast to increase even more. In In this context, the Government should – as it promised – open spaces so that all the richness and diversity of feminisms can express themselves, articulate themselves, and propose ways to find solutions supported by the very people who experience them.