In 2006, Brazil’s federal government plans to strengthen affirmative actions in the labor field. According to Brazilian Minister Matilde Ribeiro, one of next year’s priorities is the qualification of domestic workers through the Citizen Domestic Labor program.
Ribeiro is the head of the Special Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality (Seppir). The Citizen Domestic Labor program was launched in November in partnership with Brazil’s Ministry of Labor and Employment.
Brazil has 6 million domestic workers. 95% of them are women, and 57% of these women are black, the minister points out.
According to data from the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), only 25% of Brazil’s domestic workers are legal (with signed working papers).
"The plan will be developed and expanded in 2006," Ribeiro guarantees.
"Blacks are the poorest of the poor, they are marginalized from the labor market, and, when they are included, they are the ones who receive the smallest salaries and are the least qualified, due in part to their lack of insertion in the educational system," the Minister emphasizes.
From this perspective, in the Minister’s view, it is also essential that Congress approve the bill instituting the quota system in public universities all over the country.
"A favorable report has already been issued by the Education, Culture, and Sports Commission. We are awaiting a vote on this bill, among other reasons, to reinforce the experiments that are already underway," she says.
According to the Minister, 18 public universities have already adopted the quota system. Moreover, 30 thousand students of Afro-Brazilian descent entered private universities in 2005 through the University for All Program (ProUni).
This program provides full and partial scholarships to low-income students to study at private institutions of higher education, which, in return, are exempted from paying certain taxes.
"The demand for affirmative actions to reserve places in public and private universities is an historical one, it is the subject of debate among blacks and Indians, and there have been various experiences throughout the world," the Minister observes.
"In Brazil it is an experiment that provokes controversy, but we are conscious that something must be done, considering that racial inequality and racism are not inventions of enlightened individuals, but, rather, a reality that needs to be overcome in the country."