To discuss this subject and celebrate International Women’s Day, the Sao Paulo Regional Electoral Office held the event titled “1932-2017: 85 years of women’s vote in Brazil. Where do we stand?” on March 7.

Women’s right to vote, established in 1932 by Decree No. 21.076 – Brazil’s first Electoral Code – is regarded as the first step towards gender equality in the country's politics. Fast forward 85 years later and women only account for 10.6% of Brazilian Congress (51 congresswomen and 12 senators out of 594 seats). To discuss this subject and celebrate International Women’s Day, the Sao Paulo Regional Electoral Office held the event titled “1932-2017: 85 years of women’s vote in Brazil. Where do we stand?” on March 7. The panel featured Sao Paulo Law School (Direito SP) professor Luciana de Oliveira Ramos.

Coordinator of Applied Legal Research and member of Direito SP’s Research Group on Law and Gender, Ramos pointed out that women’s right to vote was a slow and painstaking achievement, considering the 1932 bill only allowed women who had their own source of income to vote. Women’s right to vote also came with the possibility of running for office, although this particular right was still very restricted. Weaving a rather bleak outlook of the scarce milestones achieved by women in politics, the professor points out that the biggest obstacles keeping women from truly breaking through to this field are the fact that political parties still refuse to support candidates who actually have a chance to win elections, Brazil’s open-list electoral system, and the patriarchal culture that pervades our society.  “A more diversified group of representatives is imperative to factor in women’s perspectives on decisions regarding public policies and rules. Only then will we have a more inclusive democracy,” she said.

The event promoted a debate on the current status of gender equality within the Brazilian political system, in addition to outlining prospects for the future. Besides Ramos, the panel also featured Fátima Pacheco Jordão, sociologist, founder and board member of Instituto Patrícia Galvão – a social organization defending communication rights and the rights of Brazilian women. During the event, the São Paulo Regional Electoral Office also revealed the Map of Gender Equality in Politics in the State of Sao Paulo.

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