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News > Latin America

Brazil: Indigenous, Transgender Women Elected to Legislature

  • Joena Wapichana became the first Indigenous woman elected to the Brazilian Congress.

    Joena Wapichana became the first Indigenous woman elected to the Brazilian Congress. | Photo: Twitter / @MidiaNINJA

Published 9 October 2018

On Sunday 77 women were elected to Brazil's lower chamber of Congress, up 50 percent from the 2014 elections.  

Jair Bolsonaro might have won the first round of the presidential elections by an important margin, but women achieved a victory on Sunday when 77 candidates were elected to Brazil’s lower chamber of Congress. That is 50 percent more than the previous general elections in 2014.

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Other important victories were registered in Brazil's state legislatures.

Erica Malunguinho of the Socialism and Liberty Party, is the first transgender woman to be elected state legislator in Sao Paulo.

The victory of Malunguinho, a Black history and art teacher, is particularly relevant in a country where violence against transgender people is widespread.

"Congratulations @malunguinho! Black, trans and Northeastern elected State Representative! To rebalance the forces and alternation of power for the legislature of São Paulo."

Taliria Pelrone, former advisor to murdered activist and councilwoman Marielle Franco, was elected to Brazil's Federal Legislature with a political platform in defense of women, Afro-Brazilians, the LGBTQI community, and the people who live in Rio's favelas. 

Monica Francisco, Renata Souza, and Dani Monteiro, three Black women of the Socialism and Liberty Party who come from Rio’s favelas and were also advisors to Franco, were elected to Rio de Janeiro's state legislature.

For the first time an Indigenous woman was elected to Congress. Joena Wapichana, a lawyer from the northern state of Roraima, was elected on the promise to push for more Indigenous land and to protect the environment. 

Despite these victories, Brazil remains one of the countries with the lowest female representation in the legislature.

In the Senate, women only gained seven of 81 seats — just 54 seats were up for election. Unlike the lower chamber, right-wing and conservative parties hold the majority of seats in the Senate. President Michel Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement is the party with most representation in the Senate after winning seven seats Sunday. It now has 12 senators. The Brazilian Social Democracy Party, the main opposition party to the Workers' Party (PT) is the second political force in the Senate with eight seats.

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