Women’s Day measures by Brazil’s Lula take goal at setbacks


SAO PAULO — Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva introduced measures Wednesday looking for to advertise and shield girls after years of setbacks of their causes blamed partially on an increase in far-right forces.

At a ceremony within the capital, Brasilia, Lula offered a package deal of over 25 measures, probably the most vital of which is a invoice that might assure equal pay for men and women who carry out the identical jobs.

He additionally introduced plans to spend 372 million reais ($72 million) to construct home violence shelters and 100 million reais ($19 million ) for science initiatives led by girls.

The president has expressed his indebtedness for the votes of girls who helped him beat incumbent Jair Bolsonaro within the 2022 election. And on Wednesday he blamed his predecessor for coverage selections that harmed Brazilian girls.

“The previous government lacked respect when it opted for the destruction of public policies, cut essential budgetary resources and tacitly motivated violence against women,” mentioned the president, flanked by his feminine ministers, for the ceremony on International Women’s Day.

Of Lula’s 37 ministers, a record-high 11 are girls. During most of his administration, Bolsonaro had simply two feminine ministers.

Several of Lula’s introduced measures, together with the spending on shelters and science initiatives, are by decree. However, others require congressional approval and provided that Lula’s legislative base has but to be consolidated it’s troublesome to gauge whether or not he can have sufficient votes, mentioned Beatriz Rey, a senior researcher on the Center for Studies on the Brazilian Congress on the State University of Rio de Janeiro.

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“It is possible that some support beyond party lines will help the administration on this specific issue of salary equality,” Rey mentioned in a phone interview.

Advocates say the insurance policies of Bolsonaro’s administration dovetailed with the unfold of extremism in Brazil, which collectively contributed to the deterioration of gender equality.

“Bolsonaro was not the cause of this; he was the symptom of something bigger, which is the consolidation and rise of the far-right in Brazilian society,” mentioned Samira Bueno, government director of Brazilian Forum on Public Security, a non-profit that final week revealed a report displaying an 18.4% rise in all types of gender-based violence in 2022.

Bueno informed The Associated Press that such forces have been gathering over the previous decade, for instance pointing to the School Without Party motion that inspired dad and mom and youngsters to report academics making an attempt to show sexual training and ladies’s rights.

And Bolsonaro’s loosening of gun controls spurred home violence, Bueno mentioned. In 2022, 5.1% of girls mentioned they have been threatened with knives or firearms, versus 3.1% in 2021, based on her group’s latest report.

“This uptick didn’t happen randomly. It happened because you had a federal government policy to allow more civilians to own and carry firearms,” Bueno mentioned.

On Jan. 1, Lula’s first day on the job, he rolled again a few of Bolsonaro’s decrees to loosen gun management. His authorities additionally required civilians to register their weapons with the Federal Police by a deadline later this month; as of mid-February only a fraction had executed in order the pro-gun foyer aligned with Bolsonaro pushes again on the registration effort.

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Among campaigners and civil society, there’s additionally an expectation that Lula will restart insurance policies and applications that labored prior to now however have been affected by finances cuts. That contains revitalization of the nationwide hotline for home violence victims, which misplaced funding in the course of the Bolsonaro authorities.

A research revealed in March 2022 by the Institute of Socioeconomic Studies, a Brasilia-based non-profit, confirmed funding for the hotline fell 42% to 25.8 million reais from 2019 to 2021. The similar research discovered that the quantity budgeted for the Ministry of Women and Human Rights to struggle gender violence in 2022 was the least in 4 years.

And, in 2021, solely 0.01% of the Justice Ministry’s National Public Security Fund went in direction of applications to struggle gender violence; a legislation handed final 12 months established a 5% minimal.

Speaking to the AP on Wednesday in Paraisopolis, Sao Paulo’s second-largest favela, or slum, Juliana da Costa Gomes lamented the influence of Bolsonaro’s authorities in rising home violence and diminishing the trigger for girls.

“But I think we are living in another moment,” mentioned Gomes, 37, who in 2017 based a program to offer skilled coaching to girls in weak conditions, roughly a decade after serving to to ascertain the favela’s womens’ affiliation. “It’s a moment of hope, for a new Brazil that can be better for women.”

At the ceremony on Wednesday, Lula additionally issued a decree to ensure distribution of free menstrual pads for all poor and weak girls; Bolsonaro in 2021 vetoed a invoice that had sought to do the identical.

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Lula was joined by first woman Rosângela da Silva, often called Janja, who has been a continuing presence at each his personal conferences and public occasions. She not too long ago took an official place inside his authorities, liaising with ministries in addition to advising the president.

By distinction, Bolsonaro’s spouse, Michelle, remained out of view in the course of the first three years of his administration, rising in the course of the 2022 marketing campaign in an effort to drum up votes from girls and evangelicals.

“If it depended on this government, inequality would end today by decree. But it is necessary to change policies, mentalities and an entire system built to perpetuate male privileges. And this, my friends, is only possible with a lot of fight,” Lula mentioned.

AP videojournalist Tatiana Pollastri and author Mauricio Savarese contributed

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