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Brazil’s Women Power Movement to Vote and Be Voted

Groups of women from around the country are meeting to encourage female participation in positions of power. The female bloc in the National Congress and the Feminist Study and Advisory Center (Cfemea) have been developing activities to stimulate women to take part in the electoral process and make demands on government officials.

In the 2004 elections there are approximately 295 thousand male candidates, as against slightly more than 80 thousand women, according to data from the Federal Electoral Court (TSE). The majority (51.18%) of the Brazilian electorate is female.

For Federal Deputy Iara Bernardi (PT-SP), even with the quota policy adopted in 1996, the parties do not encourage women to join their candidate lists.


“The quota policy is one of the few steps we succeeded in transforming into law, and it leaves much to be desired in practice. Most parties fail to fulfill the female quota on their candidate lists.”


According to the lawmaker, many parties lose votes because they are unable to complete their lists with male candidates.

A Cfemea study based on TSE (Superior Electoral Court) data for the 2000 elections shows that there were 70,321 female candidates (19.14% of the total) for municipal council positions, and 1.130 women (7.59% of the total) ran for mayor.


In the 2004 municipal elections around the country, 22.14% of the candidates for municipal council posts are women, and 9.43% of the mayoral contenders are female.


For the Cfemea, this increase in female participation is very small and continues to reflect political backwardness and a space dominated by and focused on men.

The Center publishes a newspaper, Fêmea (“Female”), which is sent to all women’s groups. The objective, according to the Cfemea, is to encourage political participation.

The Special Secretariat of Women’s Policies thinks that the government’s pluriannual plans should determine clear goals for female participation.


Members of the Secretariat believe that overcoming gender and race disparities is essential to democratic progress, and they pledged to help and maintain a dialogue with female candidates elected around the country.

Agência Brasil
Reporter: Danielle Gurgel
Translator: David Silberstein

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