Social Issues

Brazil’s Lula unveils packet of measures to promote women’s rights

Brasilia, Mar 8 (EFE).- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday presented a packet of more than 20 measures aimed at eradicating the existing wage gap, combating gender-based violence and guaranteeing women’s menstrual health.

Coinciding with International Women’s Day, celebrated annually on March 8, that legislative initiative was unveiled at a large ceremony at the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia.

The text of the bill, which must be analyzed by Congress, calls for oversight of companies and greater transparency to achieve salary equity in the workplace, a goal set forth by legislation but not yet a reality.

According to the government’s statistics office, Brazilian women receive an average of 22 percent less in salary than men for the same work.

Lula’s administration also announced the free distribution of sanitary pads, the resumption of a project to build a total of 1,189 childcare facilities and the ratification of a series of international conventions on the protection of women’s rights.

He also announced the resumption of the “Women: Living without Violence” program, which will entail the construction of 40 new “Houses for Women in Brazil” (spaces that provide comprehensive one-stop services for victims of gender violence) at a cost of 372 million reais ($72 million).

“Three women are killed in Brazil every day because they are women, and in 2022 (that number increased) to six women killed per day. Combating femicides is an urgent political” imperative, the head of Brazil’s Ministry of Women, Aparecida Goncalves, said at the ceremony.

She also proposed a “societal pact” to combat misogyny, saying that “disdain and hatred toward women cannot be normalized.”

“We can’t tolerate the fact that men earn money on the Internet” promoting misogyny,” she added. “That has to stop.”

The packet of measures also includes a plan to combat sexual and moral harassment within the federal government, the establishment of maternity leave for elite female athletes who receive government support, incentives for female scientists, filmmakers and writers and training programs for “more than 40,000 women in situations of vulnerability.”

It also established that Marielle Franco Day will be observed annually on March 14, the date in 2018 when that Rio de Janeiro councilor, feminist and critic of police brutality was shot and killed in a crime that has not been entirely solved.

The 77-year-old Lula, a popular two-term president from 2003 to 2010 who began a third term on Jan. 1, has pledged to offer a completely opposite gender vision from that of rightist predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, who has a long history of using sexist rhetoric, faced criticism while in office for slashing budgets for women’s protection programs.

Lula’s center-left administration boasts a record number of female ministers (11), although men still account for more than two-thirds of the 37-member Cabinet. EFE


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