Rosana Foresti offers perspectives from Argentina.

Are there major changes in countries, communities, individuals or the United Nations that reflect the promise of the Beijing document?
 

I can answer this question from my own context.  I believe that legislation in most Latin American countries has made considerable progress since the time of the platform.

But in some cases I dare say, these changes are a result of international pressure in terms of the grant funding, rather than a political decision based on a desire to promote structural change in our societies through projects that are focused on equality and social justice.

I dare to say that being part of such projects became “fashionable,” but tangibly resulted in higher support for and interest in the whole women’s movement across different social sectors.  This has brought us together to continue fighting for legislative change, and has played a very important role.

The problem is that the cold letter of the law needs to be changed into a tangible reality and applied in the lives of many women who still suffer discrimination, lack of equal opportunities to work, experience violence in many forms, and especially those suffering from tremendous poverty.

In this sense, much remains to be done, particularly in terms of cultural change.  For often those who have the power and decision-making ability to enforce these laws are judges, police, and government officials, where machismo and patriarchy are rooted in both males and females.