Women in politics: advances impose overcoming violence – 04/08/2021 – Opinion

The impediment to the participation of women in politics was eliminated in 1934 with the institution of the female vote in Brazil. The exclusion period created the idea that politics is not a place for women, on the grounds that they would not be interested in occupying these spaces and that such an environment would not be well managed by them.

Despite the difficulties, the advances evidenced in concrete data that indicate greater female participation in a mostly male environment are undeniable. Since 2016, the number of candidates and elected representatives has increased (651 mayors versus 635), with 885 vice-mayors and 9,196 councilors (2.5% more than in 2016). For the first time, 12% of the municipalities have mayors, and the number of those who did not elect city councilors is smaller (17% compared to 23.3%).

But there are difficulties in consolidating results, guaranteeing incentives and making the political environment less hostile: in only one municipality did two women run for mayor in the second round; and 15% of parliamentarians are women, although they are 51.5% of the population. About 6,300 women received one or zero votes, which may indicate an exacerbation of one form of political violence: the fictitious candidacy.

There are obstacles in the pre-candidacies, without opening an egalitarian space; in elections, candidates receive less resources and have a secondary role; and, in office, they are faced with political violence, expressed on the grounds of being a woman, discrimination that discourages participation in politics, for example, with the “cut” to speeches, obstacles to projects and criticisms directed at the female condition —Not performance and clash of ideas—, often taking place in episodes of harassment and aggression like those reported in the press.

Combating obstacles to the exercise of women’s political rights rests with the Powers, parties and civil society. The creation of penalizing norms is essential so that this practice does not go unpunished. It hit Parliament by approving bill 349/2015 to combat violence and political-electoral discrimination against women.

Governmental movements such as Mais Mulheres na Politics Elections 2020, an initiative of the National Secretariat of Policies for Women (SNPM) of the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights (MMFDH), contribute to equal opportunities and the quality of representative democracy . SNPM innovated by focusing on combating this type of violence, disseminating the concept with the creation of a publicity stamp and inserting this modality in Ligue 180.

It is necessary to overcome underreporting: making candidates and citizens denounce the violence that is one of the causes of under-representation in politics.

In order to curb acts that hinder the exercise of citizenship rights – human rights guaranteed by the Constitution and by international treaties and conventions – it is necessary not to naturalize political violence: not to confuse the hostile environment for female participation, which makes aggression and this form natural of violence, with the classic warlike environment of the political-electoral milieu, which must be democratically open to men and women.

TRENDS / DISCUSSIONS

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