Feminist activism and policy responses to gender-based violence in Latin America

Latin America and the Caribbean


In response to alarming rates of femicide and violence against women in Latin America, feminist activists have fought tirelessly to promote legislative change.​​ The article highlights the work of the #NiUnaMenos feminist movement, which has provided women across Latin America a platform to advocate for gender equality and an end to violence against women. The authors highlight the various barriers feminist activists in Latin America have faced in creating legislative change including the threat of violence, lack of implementation, lack of trust in the judicial system, lack of political will, lack of economic and political power, corruption, and impunity. However, despite these barriers, feminist activists in Latin America have made some significant progress in gender equality and remain dedicated to developing policy solutions that will eradicate gender-based violence. The article concludes with some policy initiatives and suggestions that will create better responses to gender-based violence.

External Authors

Anya Prusa
Beatriz Garcia Nice
Olivia Soledad

Development of ​​#NiUnaMenos

The Phrase “Ni una mujer menos, ni una muerte más” or “not one women less, not one more death was coined by human rights activist, Susana Chávez Castillo to protest the unsolved murders in Ciudad Juárez. This phrase has inspired grassroots movements across Latin America to use the phrase to condemn gender-based violence. The #NiUnaMenos movement began as a direct response in 2015 to the murder of a fourteen-year-old girl named Chiara Paez. In 2016, this movement organized Latin America’s first women-led mass strike which inspired several other countries to hold similar demonstrations.

Notable Policy Responses to Feminist Activism


Feminist activism in Latin America has been prevalent for several decades and has led to various policy responses. In 1981, the first Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentro was created where feminists gathered together to network and mobilize. This gathering created what has become the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women. In the 1990s, feminist activists successfully advocated for the Convention of Belém do Pará which was a turning point in the fight for gender equality. Since then, many countries in Latin America have developed legislation that criminalizes femicide and other forms of gender-based violence. 

The #NiUnaMenos feminist movement has achieved some notable policy victories specifically in its home country of Argentina. In 2015, the Argentine government mandated the collection and publication of national femicide statistics and required the development of women’s shelters. In 2019, the Argentine government established the Ministry for Women, Gender, and Diversity intending to end gender-based violence and strengthen women’s and LGBTQ+ rights. 


“Future policies should encourage collaboration between the judicial system and social services, to ensure that women who report abuse receive legal guidance as they move through the judicial process. Likewise, increased funding and resources for temporary housing, mental health counseling, and healthcare must go hand-in-hand with judicial responses to violence.”




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