Speaking to reporters in New York, Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, said she intends to make a speech of hope when she opens the 66th United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. She also admitted the thought of speaking before the assembly, the first woman to open a session, gave her a chill in the belly (“frio na barriga”).
“I expect to deliver a message from Brazil. Tell the world that Brazil is an affirmative country that is growing. It will be a message of hope,” said the president.
Asked if she was pleased to be on the cover of Newsweek, Dilma said she thought it was very nice and that she would take a look at the magazine
The article, by Mac Margolis, is entitled “Don’t Mess With Dilma – A woman is president in booming, macho Brazil. And she’s calling all the shots”
Monday Dilma participated in a meeting with the former president of Chile, Michelle Bachellet, who is now the head of the UN Woman agency. The meeting was to discuss the role of women in political decision-making.
While speaking at a high level meeting on Advancing Women’s Political Participation, during an event at the UN Women agency in New York, on Monday, Rousseff declared that the present international economic crisis could make things worse for women around the world.
“In spite of some notable advances, gender inequality persists even in the 21st century. It is women who suffer more from extreme poverty, illiteracy, flawed healthcare systems, conflict and sexual violence. In general, women get less pay than men for the same jobs and have little presence at the decision-making levels in organizations and government,” said Dilma.
“The economic crisis and missteps in dealing with it could make things worse, intensifying the feminization of poverty,” said president Dilma, adding that the solution was to deal with the causes as well as the effects of the crisis so that the empowerment of women could advance.
Dilma said her government was making a special effort to change the historical landscape where women were always at a disadvantage. “I have made an effort to increase the presence of women at the decision-making level. Ten ministries in my administration are under the command of women. And, of special significance, the hard core of the decision-making center of my government is run by women. We also have, in Brazil, a cabinet-level position for the head of a Secretariat of Policies for Women, with the specific task of ensuring that gender is a part of public policy decisions,” declared the president.
“I was elected president of Brazil 121 years after the country became independent and 78 years after women got the vote. We are 52% of the electorate, but hold only 10% of the seats in Congress,” concluded Dilma, emphasizing that much remains to be done before full equality between men and women is achieved.
“I am very proud to be the first woman, a Brazilian woman, to open the United Nations General Assembly,” declared president Dilma Rousseff on her regular Monday morning radio program, Breakfast with the President, that was pre-recorded this week before she went to New York.
Rousseff said her speech would touch on important issues that Brazil has a lot to tell the world about in the areas of transparent governance, combating chronic disease and dealing with economic crises.