The lack of female leadership in Brazil, by Marcia Maeno

Márcia Maeno
Márcia Maeno is a Law Student, at Unifeob in São João da Boa Vista – SP, Brazil. 

Brazil, 2018: Besides being a country in development, and showing growth in several areas, Brazil is still presenting a persistent gender inequality issue. For this reason, measures must be taken to change this unfortunate reality, such as providing more opportunities, empowering women, having active participation and, mostly, giving voice to women so that they can be heard throughout the universties, companies, politics, and all the areas they may have the will to be in.

The partnership between Unifeob and AAUW, established in 2016, has helped shape and lead actions on the university’s Campus in order to bring awareness not only to the female students, as well as the male ones, so the paradigme of gender inequality can be broken in this country.

Data shows that women are the majority in Brazil and also at the Brazilian universities. Nevertheless, when it comes to female leaders, the reality changes drastically. According to research by Grant Thornton, titled “Women in Business 2015”, 57% of the Brazilian companies have no women in charge and this puts Brazil among the top ten countries without solid women representation.

Although this research dates back to 2015, very little has changed as reported by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE – Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística), in which it has demonstrated that women receive 74,5% of the salary paid to men. A connection can be made taking into account that out of the 200 biggest companies in Brazil, only 3 of them have women in charge.

To explain this huge gap, some aspects have to considered, ranging from the sexist culture, which puts women as the only responsible for domestic chores, to the lack of opportunity and prejudice. All of this, when 57% of University graduates in the country are women.

In the most recent report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) concerning gender equality Brazil dropped 11 positions in only one year, due to lack of female representaion in politics and leadership positions. Brazil scores 90, out of 140 researched, in the scale of gender equality in the world.

On the other hand, the WEF report also shows that Brazil has risen its numbers for women pursuing education and solid careers. Which goes to show that if women have the opportunities, their reality and the reality of those around them can be changed.

Therefore, education and empowerment are the key to balance. Where there are confident and educated women, the environment can be improved for the whole community.

My Post

“Have a bias toward action – let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” – Indira Gandhi

Just think


What if we just stopped with all the finger pointing, the shame blaming, the “she asked for”, the bitching and moaning about others choices? What if we just respected each others individuality and uniqueness?  What if we were to finally understand that there will be no equality if we don’t embrace our differences?


Check this article from the Fulton Express of when I represented the AAUW-NYS Board at the 50th Anniversary of the Amsterdan-Gloversville-Jhonstown (AGJ) Branch.




Maria stared out the window while stirring sugar into a fresh cup of coffee. Her mind wondered about the amount of sugar she had put in her coffee. “I’m starting to believe I have a sugar problem”, she thought “it’s not a coffee addiction”, as her heart skipped a bit, and she smiled, “just like Bis coffee”.

Bis, aka Grandma Bilete, was her Father’s mother. The two of them shared a special bond, that wasn’t easy to describe. It was as though they understood each other’s minds and tastes in life, despite the fact that they belonged to two completely different generations. When Grandma had passed, she felt that part of her was gone too. She longed for her Grandma’s smile and kind words. She was sorry that her son didn’t have the chance to hug his Great-grandma. Maria had miss the whole funeral thing, because her boy was a few weeks old, and she was now living in a different land.

“It was better this way”, she thought. “Now I actually get to always remember her face with some fresh applied blush, and a nice sugary cup of coffee”. Bis was also the reason Maria liked coffee so much: the memories a cup of coffee could bring her were the best ones.

That morning was a dreary one. As she stared out the window, rain had taken over for the past two days, and it looked like not much was about to change. It was the beginning of April, the blurry rainy season in the north country. Through the window, she could see the flooded backyard. She looked pitifully, “Poor dogs. This is going to be another inside day”. Yet her mind cheered: “April showers, bring May flowers. Just hang in there, green grass and motorcycle weather are just around the corner”.

With a little pirouette, Maria turned around and headed to the refrigerator to grab fixings to prepare her son’s school lunch. Like most weekday mornings, “Todo dia ela faz tudo sempre igual”, she sang a verse of the song “Cotidiano”, from Brazilian singer/songwriter/writer (and any other intelectual kind of stamp there is) Chico Buarque.

Ohh… the things her mind could wonder about while simple stirring sugar into a cup of coffee. In less than five minutes, she worried about her sugar intake. This led her to happy memories of her Grandmother Bis, whom would have love to stare at the flooded backyard, searching for birds, while wondering about Maria’s motorcycle ride. Yet, riding was only possible because Maria’s (now) 6 years old son had an eight hour long school day… Speaking of school … Maria suddenly felt reminded of her routine of fixing the boy’s lunch, making the breakfast, and getting the house going. “…Todo dia ela diz que é pra eu me cuidar, e essas coisas que diz toda mulher / Diz que está me esperando pro jantar, e me beija com a boca de café… tralala”, she sang thoughfully.