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  • Jair Bolsonaro will take office on January 1, 2019.

    Jair Bolsonaro will take office on January 1, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 November 2018
Opinion

Women’s representation in Brazilian politics is disproportionately low despite making up 52 percent of the country's population.

Gleisi Hoffmann, president of the Workers' Party (PT), called out Brazil's far-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro for having no women or Afro-Brazilians in his transition cabinet Tuesday, after Bolsonaro announced his transitional team.  

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“Bolsonaro’s transition team has 27 people, seven are military men, none are woman, none are Black, but he has legislator Julian Lemos, vice president of the PSL (Social Liberal Party), sentenced and with three accusations by the Maria da Penha law for assaulting his sister and 'ex-wife',” Hoffmann said via Twitter.

When asked about the absence of women, he responded, "Are you going to ask me if there are going to be homosexuals (as ministers)? I do not know. I'm not going to remove someone already named to place a woman."

According to his critics, Bolsonaro's cabinet decision reflects the misogynist and homophobic rhetoric used during the presidential campaign.

In Brazil, the lack of female representation in politics goes beyond the presidential cabinet. Despite making up 52 percent of the population, women won only 15 percent of seats in the lower house in the 2018 general elections

Concern over Bolsonaro’s cabinet is also related to announced cutbacks and mergers.

During the campaign, he proposed combining three existing ministries under the jurisdiction of his chief economic advisor, Paulo Guedes. Guedes has been confirmed as the future finance minister.

Left-wing opposition is critical of Guedes' ties to the Chicago Boys who transformed Chile's economy during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Bolsonaro has also proposed merging the ministries of agriculture and environment. While that move is still unconfirmed, it has raised concerns from Indigenous communities and environmentalists.

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