In Chile, women students organized a new “Feminism Waves” movement in 2018 to remove sexism and sexual harassment from over 30 universities when their complaints were ignored. Building on the history of student protests to make education affordable, their weapons are taking over 14 college campuses (blocking front gates) and two high schools, weeks of strikes, graffiti (e.g. “Fire to the Patriarchy”), and marches with thousands of face-painted protesters. One group marched topless with maroon balaclavas on their faces. Men are included, but not as spokesmen. Decision-making in the campus occupations is enhanced by online voting and music and theater groups perform for the occupation. The protesters demand mandatory gender-equality training for students and faculty, equal opportunity for women in academia, women’s studies in the curriculum, avoiding sexist language and off-color “jokes,” better procedure for sexual crimes, and make careers less gender-specific. In response, conservative President Sebastian Pinera organized a “Gender Agenda,” which the feminists said was inadequate—so they called for a June 6 march. “ One of the spokeswomen, law student Emilia Scheider said, “We haven’t invented anything, we are a part of history.”[i] Student occupied her campus at the University of Chile’s School of Law for each of her four years as a student.
[i] Caitlin Donohue, “Chilean Feminists Take Over 14 University Campuses,” 48 Hills, May 18, 2018.
A video Ñ Don’t Stop interviews students at the Santiago high school they say started the student protest movement.[i] A boy explained his school, “educates students to liberate themselves, with a freedom-minded outlook on life,” rather than be mindless workers for the system. While other Latin American countries are narrowing inequality, Chile has great income inequality; the World Bank reported that the richest 10% own 42% of the disposable income (compared to 30% in the US).[ii]
Ñ Don’t Stop: Chile’s Revolutionary High School, TeleSur, September 2, 2015.
[i] Ñ Don’t Stop: Chile’s Revolutionary High School, TeleSur, September 2, 2015.
[ii] Eduardo Porter, “Income Gap Shrinks in Chile,” New York Times, December 2, 2014.