Women in Argentina

Women in Argentina

Women's rights and social issues

Domestic violence in Argentina is a serious problem. [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78877.htm Report on Human Rights Practices 2006: Argentina] . United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (March 6, 2007). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain."] Argentine law prohibits domestic violence, but lack of vigilance on the part of the police and the judicial system often lead to a lack of protection for victims. Moreover, women often do not fully understand their rights. In this regard, there are great disparities between urban centers and rural areas; indigenous women are also particularly vulnerable.

The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, but the need for proof, either in the form of clear physical injury or the testimony of a witness, often presented problems. The penalties for rape ranged up to 20 years' imprisonment. According to the National Office for Criminal Policy, law enforcement agencies received 3,154 complaints of rape during 2005. Women's rights advocates claimed that police, hospital, and court attitudes toward sexual violence victims often revictimized the individual.

Promotion, facilitation, or exploitation of people into prostitution is illegal, but it occurred. NGOs considered sex tourism a problem but had no estimates of its extent. Trafficking of women to and within the country for prostitution was a problem.

Sexual harassment in the public sector is prohibited under laws that impose disciplinary or corrective measures. In some jurisdictions (for instance, in the city of Buenos Aires) sexual harassment may lead to the abuser's dismissal, whereas in others (such as Santa Fe Province) the maximum penalty is five days in prison. No federal law expressly prohibits sexual harassment in the private sector. Lugar de Mujer, a women's rights NGO, reported that it received approximately 70 complaints of sexual harassment per month. A survey carried out by the Government Administration Workers Union estimated that 47.4 percent of women interviewed had been sexually harassed.

Although women enjoyed equality under the law, including property rights, they encounter economic discrimination and hold a disproportionately higher number of lower-paying jobs. Men earn, on average, 38 percent more than women for equivalent work, an imbalance explicitly prohibited by law. Approximately 70 percent of women employed outside the home work in nonskilled jobs, although more women than men hold university degrees. The law provides for prison terms of up to three years for discrimination based on gender.

The National Council of Women carried out programs to promote equal social, political, and economic opportunities for women. The council worked with the special representative for international women's issues, the Ministry of Labor, and union and business organizations to form the Tripartite Committee on Equal Opportunity for Men and Women in the Workplace, which sought to foster equal treatment and opportunities for men and women in the job market.

Decrees provide that one third of the members of both houses of congress must be women, a goal achieved through balanced election slates. As of 2006, there were 29 women in the 72-seat Senate, 86 women in the 257-seat Chamber of Deputies, two female Supreme Court justices, and three women in the cabinet.


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