Local politicians in Chile are hoping to improve the lives of women — and combat a pervasive culture of machismo — by issuing fines of up to hundreds of dollars to those found guilty of sexually harassing women on the street. Two municipalities in Santiago have recently introduced the fines — including Las Condes, where mayor Joaquin Levin pointedly announced the formal introduction of new fines on Monday during a press conference at a construction site. In Chile and across the world, men working at construction sites are notorious for catcalling women as they pass by. The new measures, which would punish offenders with a fine of up to $390, Lavin told journalists, would serve to “raise the level of respect on public streets.”
In addition to the fines, the town will also be erecting anti-street harassment signs in public places such as construction sites, bus stops, and train stations.
“We don’t bother or offend anyone here. We are against street harassment,” the signs read.
In recent years, violence against women has become an increasingly large issue in the region. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, 1,700 women were murdered across 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015.
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