Argentina is ranked 1st out of 86 in the 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index. The country was ranked 4th out of 102 in the 2009 Social Institutions and Gender Index.
The 2011 Human Development Index (HDI) score for the country is 0.797, placing it 45th place (out of 187 countries). The Gender Inequality Index score is 0.372. Argentina's World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index rating for 2011 is 0.7236, placing it 28th place (out of a total of 135 countries).
The statutory minimum age at which people can marry is 18 for women and men. A 2004 United Nations report estimated that in 2001, the most recent year for which data is available, 10.6 per cent of girls between 15 and 19 years of age were married, divorced or widowed.
Polygamy is not practised in Argentina.
The law on civil marriages guarantees equality between the spouses, particularly in relation to parental authority, both during the marriage and when it is dissolved. Maintaining the family following divorce is difficult for women in that a large number of men do not meet their obligation to make child support payments. In 2001, the government passed legislation to tackle this problem more effectively.
There is no discrimination in respect of inheritance; women and girls as widows and daughters are fully entitled to inherit on the same basis as men and boys.
In March 2009, Argentina enacted a new law to prevent, sanction, and eradicate violence against women that for the first time recognized violence against women as gender violence. This comprehensive law applies throughout the entire country and requires collaboration across government agencies of all jurisdictions. The law recognizes five types of violence: physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and symbolic, and covers women’s interpersonal relationships at all levels, from domestic to institutional. These activities will be coordinated and administered through the Consejo Nacional de la Mujer (National Council of Women). The law establishes a framework for additional laws to set new penalties for gender-based violent crimes.
In 1999, legislation was passed on offences that violate sexual integrity, introducing the concept of sexual abuse and a broader definition of rape. However, domestic violence is a misdemeanour offense that is prosecuted in civil, not criminal court. The need to provide proof of a sexual injury resulting from the rape is often seen as an obstacle for victims. Women’s rights advocates report that police, hospital, and court attitudes towards victims of sexual violence often revictimized the individual. The Ministry of Justice National Crime Policy Office estimates that only one-third of sexual violence crimes are reported and only ten percent result in convictions. In September 2008 the Supreme Court inaugurated the Office of Domestic Violence in an attempt to address these concerns.
Similarly, despite the development of a legal framework designed to address the problem of domestic violence, it also remains quite common (although few reliable statistics are available). Legislation on protection from domestic violence was passed in 1994, and now applies in all 23 states. This legislation offers those who have suffered domestic violence protection, civil redress, welfare and psychological support and the removal of the violent spouse from the marital home. When violence involves a crime against sexual integrity, it is punishable by a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Despite its frequency, domestic violence is not socially accepted. Over 96 percent of respondents to a 2006 survey answered that it was never justifiable for a man to beat his wife.
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practised in Argentina.
Despite its strong maternity protections, there are some informal barriers to adequate gender-based care in Argentina, particularly in regards to access to reproductive health care services. Some women are given inaccurate information about contraception by their doctors, while others have their access restricted by their partners. While sterilization is a common modern method of birth control in many Latin American countries, it was illegal in Argentina until 2006, and even today many public hospitals require that women already have three or more children, are 35 years of age, and have the consent of their spouse.
Since 2003, the government has undertaken numerous campaigns to broaden the knowledge of and access to contraceptives and other reproductive health services, particularly among poor women. Nevertheless, disparities remain, with poorer and less educated women reporting lower rates of use and knowledge.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs reported in 2011 that abortion is only permitted in Argentina to save a woman’s life. Otherwise it is illegal, although it is estimated that between 300,000 and 500,000 clandestine abortions take place every year. Further, abortion-related complications are the second leading cause of both pathology-related hospitalizations of women and of maternal deaths.
 Law No. 26,485. Comprehensive Protection Act to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence Against Women in Areas Where they Develop their Relationships, enacted 11 March 2009.  U.S. State Dept. (2010), 2009 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Argentina.  Law No. 25.087 modifying the Criminal Code.  State Dept. 2010.  State Dept. 2010.  State Dept. 2010.  Law No. 24,417. Protection Against Family Violence Law; CEDAW (2008), Considerations of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Argentina, Sixth Periodic Report of States Parties, p. 24;Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) (2009) Questionnaire on the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) + 15: Argentina, p. 10.  State Dept. 2010.  World Values Survey (2006), Selected Country/Sample: Argentina: Question V208.  CEPAL 2009, p. 8; Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) (2004), Supplementary information on Argentina Scheduled for review during the CEDAW’s 31st Session, p. 2; Human Rights Watch (HRW) (2005), Decisions Denied: Access to Contraceptives and Abortion in Argentina, p. 2.  CRR 2002.  UN DESA (2011).  CRR (2002), Supplementary information on Argentina Scheduled for review by CEDAW in August 2002, p. 4-5; CRR (2004), p. 3-4.
The 2010 female-to-male ratio for primary school enrolment is 0.99 and for secondary school enrolment it is 1.12. Despite having reached parity in education, Argentina faces the issue of child labour, which remains common: in 2004, a government survey estimated that there were 450.000 children working. While the law protects children from exploitation in the workplace, child labour persists, especially in rural areas.
According to a 2010 ILO study, boys are more likely than girls to be in employment, and the gender gap increases with age. 2004 Figures indicate that out of all children aged 7-14 years, 15.7 per cent of boys engage in economic activity versus 9.8 per cent of girls. However, girls spend on average 23.3 hours per week in economic activity when boys spend 22.7 hours per week.
The male/female sex ratio for the total population in 2012 is 0.97.
There is no evidence to suggest that Argentina is a country of concern in relation to missing women.
Although the Argentine law views women as equal in regard to access to land, access to property other than land, and access to bank loans, in practice they often face economic discrimination. Women continue to hold a disproportionate number of low paying jobs concentrated in economic sectors such as domestic work, personal services and other small and medium-sized enterprises. This horizontal and vertical occupational segregation persists despite the fact that more women comprise nearly 57 percent of enrolees at higher levels of education. For example, many women work on small farms but have only limited access to land and are very vulnerable to poverty. To resolve this issue, the government has initiated several projects to benefit women living in rural communities and to foster equal treatment and opportunities in the workplace for men and women nationwide.
 State Dept., 2010; CEPAL 2009, p. 14.  CEPAL 2009, p. 18.  CEDAW (2000), Considerations of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Argentina, Fourth Periodic Report of States Parties, p. 83, 105-106; State Dept. 2010.
The law guarantees freedom of movement for women and there are no restrictions on this freedom in practice.
Freedom of expression is guaranteed by law and is generally respected. The constitution also guarantees freedom of religion, although the Jewish community in Argentina is often discriminated against. The October 2009 bill contains some provisions that limit freedom of expression, such as “the creation of a politically-appointed regulatory body”.
Regarding the representation of women in the media, a new Observatory has been established to monitor symbolic and media violence against women and other forms of discrimination.
Due to the official decree that one-third of the members of both houses of congress must be women (a goal achieved through balanced election slates), women are well-represented in Argentina’s bi-cameral parliament. Following elections in June 2009, women hold 124 out of 328 seats, or 37.8 percent. In addition, following the elections in October 2007, Argentina elected a woman as its President for the first time. At the provincial level, women comprise 27 percent of legislators, although the level varies greatly between provinces, from a low of 4 percent to a high of 48 percent. In general few women hold few positions of authority in local and provincial governments. According to results from a 2006 survey, 67.8 percent of respondents disagreed or disagreed strongly with the statement, “On the whole, men make better political leaders than women do.” Similarly, a 2007 Pew survey found that sixty-eight percent of those polls viewed men and women equally as political leaders. Eighty percent of those surveyed in 2006 believed that giving women equal rights was an essential characteristic of democracy.
Women in Argentina receive ninety days of maternity leave at 100 percent of their wages, but those wages are paid through an employer-funded system. Survey questions reveal a desire among women for policies that help them balance their domestic and professional responsibilities. In 2006, 75.6 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “A working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work.” However, 65.8 percent also agreed or agreed strongly with the statement, “Being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay.” Sixty percent disagreed with the statement, “When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women.”
 US Department of State (2010a).  Freedom House (2010).  Freedom House (2010).  ECLAC (2009).  Decree No. 1246/00; CEDAW 2002, p. 29; State Dept. 2010.  Inter-Parliamentary Union (2010), Women in Parliament: All Countries on National Parliaments.  CEDAW 2008, p. 38.  CEDAW 2008, p. 39.  Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Genero (ELA) (2008), Temas prioritarios a considerar en la evaluación del VI Informe de la Republica Argentina sobre el cumplimiento de la CEDAW (2004-2007), p. 8.  WVS 2006, Question V61.  Pew Research Center, Global Attitudes Project: Spring 2007 Survey: Question Q.43.  WVS 2006, Question V161.  International Labour Organization (2009), Database of Conditions and Work Employment Laws.  World Bank (2009), Women’s Economic Opportunity Index: Indicator 4.4.  WVS 2006, Question V60.  WVS 2006, Question V44.
Argentina is a country rich in natural resources and is one of South America’s largest economies. The country experienced a severe economic crisis in 2001, which left half of the population living in poverty and despite some improvement since 2003 many Argentines still await the benefits of the economic upturn. Since the 2009 recession there is a risk of exacerbating an already high inflation due to the government’s reliance on expansionary fiscal and monetary policies. In 2007, Argentina elected its first female president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was re-elected for a second term in the October 2011 presidential elections. The World Bank classifies Argentina as an upper middle-income country.
According to the 2011 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report, women and girls in Argentina have achieved gender parity in primary, secondary and tertiary education. However, there is a gender gap in labour force participation, with only 58% of women participating in the labour force, compared to 82% of men. In 2010, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women commended Argentina for its gender-sensitive response to the economic crisis and the introduction of the comprehensive law on violence against women. However, the Committee also noted that discrimination against particularly disadvantaged groups of women remains a problem and that more effort is required to provide women with access to justice in the legal system.
The Argentine Constitution (amended in 1994) guarantees the equality of both genders and prohibits any form of discrimination against women. The National Council for Women was established in 1992 to promote women’s participation in society and ensure that the international treaties ratified by Argentina (in particular the CEDAW and its Optional Protocol, which Argentina ratified in 2007) are applied in practice.
Argentina ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1985, and the Optional Protocol on violence against women in 2007.
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