Like other Latin American societies, Argentina has a strong machista (chauvinist) element. Argentine women are traditionally mothers, homemakers, and children’s caregivers, while men are providers and decision-makers, although there are increasing numbers of female professionals and other working women.
Many Argentine men view foreign women as sexually available, but this is not necessarily discriminatory—they view Argentine women the same way. Harassment often takes the form of piropos, sexist comments which are often innocuous and can even be poetic, but are just as likely vulgar. It is best to ignore verbal comments, which are obvious by tone of voice even if you don’t understand them; if they’re persistent, seek refuge in a café or confitería.
Despite challenges, women have acquired political prominence. The most prominent and notorious, of course, was Evita Perón, but her rise to the top was an unconventional one. The highest-profile females in current politics are President Cristina Fernández—wife of former President Néstor Kirchner—and legislator and former presidential candidate Elisa Carrió, a vociferous anticorruption campaigner who, unfortunately, is better at identifying problems than offering solutions.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition