As if to dramatize the economic conditions, more than 3,500 women – all between the ages of 40& 60 – lined up in Recoleta Tuesday to apply for 40 openings at a new movie theater.

My first question was why only women 40-60? It was because the ad actually specified women (sexo femenino) from 40 to 60. The application form itself was titled Mamas, Tias, & Abuelas. Obviously, sex and age discrimination are alive and well in Argentina.

This story received a lot of coverage on the local TV stations on Tuesday and in the Clarin and La Nacion on Wednesday. Interestingly, it was not even mentioned in the English-language, pro-business Buenos Aires Herald.

The women appeared well-dressed, ordinary middle-class or what was once the middle class before the economic crisis.

Employment ads here regularly advertise for workers of a certain age, usually under 35. Ironically, age discrimination seems to be encouraged in Argentina. Rather than trying to change the laws to prevent age discrimination, employers are encouraged (and apparently applauded) for advertising for middle-age workers. While I find it incredible here that companies are allowed to advertise for any specific age group, perhaps Argentines realize that targeting these age groups through focused advertisements is more liely to result in the actual employment of middle-age workers.

Of course, the next question is why did the movie theater only want mothers, aunts, and grandmothers? What about fathers, uncles, and grandfathers?

BTW, the average pay for the full-time positions was $700 pesos (about $241 US) a month.