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Feminist News


August-11-00

Women In Brazil Visible In Local Elections, But Absent In National Politics

In three of Brazils state capitals women are running against women for the seat of mayor, a refreshing indicator that womens participation in local politics is flourishing. Researchers point to a glass ceiling in politics, in which womens leadership is only accepted at the local level. Womens participation in local politics soar in regions where they are closely associated with community issues and where family networks are prevalent. However, at the municipal and federal levels, power is reserved for male clan members. The number of female lawmakers in Brazils national Congress has dropped from 34 in the 1994 elections to 28 in 1998. The number of female city councillors rose by 111 percent when a quota system that reserved 20 percent of candidacies for women was established in 1996. Womens rights advocates in Brazil are urging reform of quota laws on a national level.

Media Resources: Interpress Service (http://www.ips.org) 10 August