The regulation categorizes loading and unloading of vessels as activities reserved for men.


In Argentina, Law 11,317 enacted in 1924 prohibited the employment of women in hazardous or unhealthy tasks related to the port, river, and mining industries. The legislation remained unchanged until this year when the Labor Legislation Committee of the Chamber of Deputies approved, by a large majority, a report that seeks to repeal several articles of the law. The Senate will now have the decision to nullify the legislation, which has been in effect for almost a century in Argentine legislation.

Prohibited jobs for women

According to Law 11,317, the tasks prohibited for women include: loading and unloading of vessels; quarrying or underground work; loading or unloading by cranes or hoists; machinery operators or stokers; greasing and cleaning of moving machinery; handling of belts in circular saws and other dangerous mechanisms; metal casting, glass blowing, and transportation of incandescent materials. All the mentioned jobs are “reserved for men.”

Law 11,317 included penalties and sanctions for employers who hired women or underage adolescents under 18 years old for those jobs. It’s worth noting that the report under consideration excludes provisions related to the prohibition of child labor.

Low female labor participation

Deputy Vanesa Siley, who promotes the reform, stated that “in the maritime and port industry, companies still use this law as an excuse not to hire women.”

According to the Undersecretariat of Port Affairs of the Province of Buenos Aires, in the port activity, 87% of workers are male, and only 13% are female, mainly in administrative, human resources, and communication areas.

Likewise, according to a census conducted by the Argentine Naval Prefecture – which takes place every five years – a total of 21,490 registered logbooks of sailing personnel were recorded in 2022, with 2% being female personnel, equivalent to 430 logbooks.