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.

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“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