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The Green Scarf: Latin American Feminism Crossing Borders

The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Justice against the ruling on the right to abortion in the United States was rejected by thousands of women who took to the streets with a familiar symbol for Latin America: the green scarf. This is how feminism in Latin America is impacting the world.

Woman showing a green scarf during a Women's Mobilization

Photo: Wikimedia-Caro say it

LatinAmerican Post | July Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: El pañuelo verde: el feminismo latinoamericano cruzando fronteras

In early May, the Supreme Court of Justice revealed a draft ruling that seeks to annul Roe v. Wade that serves as a historical precedent for the protection of the right to abortion throughout the country. The project was written by Samuel Alito, a conservative judge, and if it receives signatures from the majority of magistrates, access to abortion would be radically affected. It is believed that the final opinion could be published in June, but until that happens, the ruling continues to protect access to the procedure. If the project succeeds, citizens would depend on the state in which they live to have or not the right to abortion.

Faced with this situation, in recent weeks women and pregnant people from all over the country have come out to protest and demand their right to decide about their bodies and their lives. In the midst of this, a familiar symbol for our region has taken center stage. It is the green scarf, recognized for being an accessory used by feminists in Latin America to demand the legalization of abortion.

The Green Scarf

The green scarf was born in Argentina, in 2003, during the National Meeting of Women of Rosario. At that time the purple color was the one that was most related to the feminist movement. But during the meeting, in which members of the National Abortion Campaign participated, purple was not the only color used by the militants. Although there are several versions about why the color green was chosen, the most accepted is that back then in Argentina the color green was not associated with any political party or cause, so it was chosen to symbolize this struggle.

And why a scarf? Well, we must remember that on April 30, 1977, the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo movement began, with which grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and daughters marched with white scarves on their heads to look for the disappeared of the dictatorship. . Thus, the scarf carries the historical burden of the South American country and honors the struggles led by women.

It was in 2018 that, thanks to social networks, and the work and support of other Latin American feminists, the green scarf was noticed beyond Argentina, always accompanied by the premise "Sexual education to decide, contraceptives not to abort, legal abortion not to die". That was the beginning of the green tide, which reached Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil. The demand for the right to abortion made news around the world when, after years of struggle, these countries began to make bills that would legalize it a reality.

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In January 2021, it became law in Argentina and in February 2022 in Colombia. This was the demonstration that the Latin American feminist struggle is giving results. So much so that it is being an example for other countries. Today in the United States, given the threat that exists regarding access to this right that seeks to dignify the lives of pregnant people, the green scarf is gaining strength.

And this is not the only or the last time that feminism in Latin America is seen around the world and taken as an example. In 2019, in the midst of the social upheaval in Chile due to repression by the authorities, the feminist group "Las Tesis" made headlines. During the celebration of November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, they carried out interventions in Santiago and other cities, with a harrowing performance called "A rapist in your path", in which they chanted denouncing the State that is an accomplice and, on many occasions, a perpetrator of violence against women. The performance was quickly spread and replicated throughout Latin America and, eventually, various countries around the world.

Latin America, and especially the feminist struggle, is showing a social fervor that promises to stay strong in the face of adversity that may come.