At the ripe old age of 17, San Isidro teens can now say that they have made significant contributions to their local legislation. This past month, seniors at a local high school in San Isidro, Greater Buenos Aires Area, decided to take several of their projects to the local political level, resulting in a publicly funded campaign against street harassment, among other initiatives.
Leading the pack of reform-minded youth are Micaela and Candelaria, two girls who took part in “Banca 25” the previous year. “Banca 25” is a project in conjunction with The Honorable Council of San Isidro that encourages young people to become involved in what’s going on in their community by coming up with possible legislation that pertains to their own interests and concerns about community well-being. This past year, over 1,500 students in 23 schools, both public and private, were united through this project to make a difference in the local community of San Isidro.
In a statement to La Nación, Micaela said that the idea for the project on street harassment grew out of a desire to illuminate an issue that is a reality for most women.
“The topic of street harassment arose because we all have experienced this — whether it happened to our friends, or anyone else we know. Whether that means being whistled at in the street, a man brushing up against you on the bus, or having something demeaning said to you to that is disguised as a compliment. Violent situations that are actually very common. This is what has brought all of the girls in our class to present the idea for this campaign.”
Eliminating street harassment and all forms of gender-based violence was the principle objective of the Ni Una Menos movement that arose last year as a result of attention being increasingly given to femicide.
There have been multiple #NiUnaMenos marches organized in the past year to protest the gender violence and femicide within Argentina. The first march was held on June 3, 2015 and was attended by 300,000 people. The most recent rally, #VivasNosQueremos (We Want Us Alive) was held this past June 3rd.
The process has been incredibly long and arduous, beginning with brainstorming ideas and debating the validity of those ideas within the classroom along with other students. This was followed by the presentation to the Deliberative Council. In the end, their hard work has paid off, with twenty of the girls’ projects being passed.
The installation of this new legislation will provide for posters to be placed all around San Isidro, condemning street harassment, and for public debates and discussions to take place, so that the theme is well-addressed and at the forefront of the public’s mind.
According to La Nacion, the aim of the project is for young people to become involved in their local community to the highest degree possible, and to have their voices heard, as well as testing their skills and abilities to debate, and negotiate.
Among the other campaigns passed include provisions to improve lighting, traffic lights and street security.