Political Processes and the Women's Movement in Brazil

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:45 AM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Neuma AGUIAR , Sociology, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro RJ, Brazil
The paper discusses the reemergence of social movements in Brazil, to include the women’s movements, pointing to the processes of institutionalization of the early organizations that were born after the military dictatorship, during the forging of the 1988 Brazilian Constitution, built with participatory ideals. It depicts what happened to the early women’s movements that appeared at a time of  democratic construction, their priorities and professionalization, to comprise their official inclusion in the governmental apparatus, achieving Ministerial Status during the Worker’s Party presidential election victories, discussing the parallel process of elitization and autonomization of party politics, the exclusion of women of parliamentary representation and the voice given to religious fundamentalist groups in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate. It also discusses the changes undertaken by the movements that helped to forge the 1988 Constitution and their transformation into NGOs. The enlarged participation in the executive has been achieved through careers in the administrative machinery rather than in party politics. The paper portrays the emergence of the new women’s movements: some independent of party politics and with high international influence; other with national concern, tied to party politics; or to rural trade-unions, and discusses each of these organization’s priorities and how they stand in relation to feminist issues and the response given by the political system: the parliament, the women’s secretariat; the women’s police stations, in the cases of violence against women; murder cases and rape, discussing the action of fundamentalists so as to propose strategies to withdraw some of the conquests made by women related to cases of rape and abortion. It also portrays the response of the women’s movements to these political challenges, and some of the still incipient concrete propositions of reform, widening women’s representation in parliament, while women’s issues can only be politically debated through participatory practices.