Women in Power: Advocating for Equality in Brazilian Politics
Minister Cida Gonçalves of Brazil is championing improved conditions for women in the upcoming 2024 elections, reports the Ministry of Women of Brazil.
In a recent gender equality debate at Palácio do Planalto, Brasília, Gonçalves urged for increased resources for female candidates to address the underrepresentation of women in national politics.
Joining her were female leaders from Chile, Costa Rica, and Senegal, including Janja Lula da Silva, former presidents Michelle Bachelet and Laura Chinchilla, and former Prime Minister Aminata Touré.
Minister Gonçalves boldly expressed the need to elect at least one female councilor in each Brazilian municipality, challenging the existing 30% quota discourse.
“The challenge posed to us, in Brazil, is to elect at least one councilor in each municipality in Brazil. We need to change the discourse: We do not want a 30% quota. We want the guarantee that we, women, will be sitting [in seats in the National Congress] and that, in every city, we will have women who will speak,” protested Cida Gonçalves.
She emphasized the importance of ensuring women’s active participation in decision-making at both the national and local levels.
The event, titled “Women in Power: Strategies for Implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goal for Gender Equality,” aimed to align strategies with UN Goal 5.
Janja Lula da Silva highlighted the progress made by the current government in appointing women to key positions but underscored the ongoing challenges faced by female parliamentarians, particularly the unequal representation in the National Congress. She stressed the need for legislative changes, advocating for a more ambitious goal of fifty-fifty parity.
The meeting also addressed Brazil’s lag in gender representation, with data from ECLAC revealing the country’s low rankings in elected positions compared to global counterparts.
Aminata Touré emphasized the crucial role of education and budget allocation in empowering women, drawing attention to Senegal’s achievement of approximately 45% women in parliament.
Benedita da Silva, a seasoned federal deputy, highlighted the broader societal benefits of increasing female representation in parliament, including improvements in social indices, child mortality rates, and investments in primary health care programs.
Former presidents Laura Chinchilla and Michelle Bachelet emphasized the global commitment to gender equality through various UN initiatives.
They also discussed the challenges posed by misogynistic and populist politicians, calling for efforts to combat misinformation, hate speech, and violence directed at female candidates.
The event, attended by authorities such as Minister of Environment and Climate Change Marina Silva and Vice-Governor of the Federal District Celina Leão, culminated in a meeting between President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and former heads of government.
They discussed the role of women in modern societies and the need for agendas to reduce gender inequalities, including Brazil’s recently approved Equal Pay Law.
According to data from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) from 2022, Brazil is in the last positions in all indicators of the presence of women in elected positions at all federative levels – state and municipal.
According to the United Nations, at the current rate, the world will take 300 years to achieve gender equality. In the world of work, women receive 20% less than male colleagues who perform the same role.
The former Minister of Justice and former Prime Minister of Senegal, Aminata Touré, explained that the African country today has around 45% women in parliament. For her, education and budgetary choices are essential to positively impact the future of women.
“We must ensure that our government in Africa and governments in the southern part of the globe allocate sufficient resources to support women’s education, just as the job market needs to offer equal opportunities. It was education that took me to where I am,” said Aminata Touré.
UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, aimed at achieving gender equality, underscores key objectives, including ending discrimination, eliminating violence, recognizing unpaid care work, ensuring full participation and equal opportunities, and adopting reforms for women’s economic empowerment.
Key UN SDG 5 Objectives:
End all forms of discrimination against women and girls.
Eliminate violence against women, including trafficking and exploitation.
Eliminate harmful practices such as early marriages and female genital mutilation.
Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work, promoting shared responsibility.
Ensure full and effective participation of women in decision-making.
Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Carry out reforms for women’s equal rights to economic resources and property.
Increase the use of basic technologies to promote women’s empowerment.
Adopt and strengthen policies and legislation for gender equality at all levels.
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