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47% of elected women deputies and senators have family ties and traditions in the political environment

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Roberta Roma (PL), elected federal deputy from the state of Bahia, is married to federal deputy Joao Roma, who was defeated in the election of the governor of this state. (Photo: Disclosure)

Nearly half of the women’s bench that will be in Congress in the next Legislative Assembly has relatives who have already held political office. Women deputies and senators most often indicate the degree of relationship by husband: 47% of them are married to men who participate or have participated in political life. Next, the most common relationships are father, mentioned by 25% of them, and brother (8%).

The figures show that, like men, politics is often viewed by women parliamentarians as a family tradition. The data confirms that, despite the slow growth of gender representation among Brazilian congressmen, many women manage to get into the national parliament only thanks to the political dominance of the family, which, according to experts, is also a tonic for men.

Senator Simone Tebet (MDB-MS), daughter of former governor and former Senate President Ramez Tebet, says being in a family of politicians is ultimately an incentive to get involved in the field, especially among women. She says she has lived in this environment since the age of 5, which helped her learn faster and therefore have more experience.

However, often women’s participation in politics is associated with a perceived “opportunity” due to the fact that they already have someone in the family who opens doors for them. However, political scientist Deborah Thome from the Center for Public Sector Policy and Economics Research (Cepesp/FGV) notes that this is not a gender issue:

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“The United States has Barballo, Sarni, Arraes, ACM, Bushy. Politics is a family business, for women and men.”

Experts note that for women the biggest problem is to distance their political activities from the activities of men in the family.

Most of them already held positions in the party leadership, which indicates the evolution of the role of parliamentarians on the national political scene. According to the survey, 75% were already at the forefront of decision-making bodies at the municipal, state or national level. And half hold or have held non-elected public office. These positions are associated with folders such as Health, Education, and Social Assistance.

“The data shows that these women have not been left behind and have already held positions primarily in the legislature and the public sector,” analyzes Marina Barros, co-founder and co-director of the Alziras Institute. In general, she explains, “they have already taken places associated with the caring essence of a woman, which is very stigmatizing. It is necessary to deconstruct this stereotype in relation to women. They should be cross-cutting in all agendas.”

Marina Barros draws attention to the fact that 77% of women deputies and senators have children, and in half of the cases they are over 18 years old:

“Women can only go to Brasilia when their children are older or when they have no children, which is a reality for 22% of them. This shows the importance of pursuing a specific policy so that women are not burdened with taking care of their home and children, which limits their ability to engage in politics.”

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pioneer spirit

This year, for the first time in history, the Chamber elected transgender MPs: Erica Hilton (PSOL-SP) and Dudu Salabert (PDT-MG).

“Many of us cannot occupy and reach this place because we cannot afford it. We are driven out of our homes, we face hunger, unemployment, sexual violence. We have to drop out of school to take care of our younger sisters so our mothers can work. We became the breadwinners of our families very early, and this prevented our entry into Congress and political life, ”says Erica.

Erica also defends more resources from political parties to increase bench diversity.

According to the poll, 66% of women deputies and senators are white. And only 16% declare themselves brown and 13% black. Indigenous peoples correspond to an even smaller audience: 4%.

In terms of sexual orientation, women deputies and senators who declare themselves gay or bisexual make up 4% of women who will be in Congress. Heterosexuals make up 96%.

There is also little religious diversity, with Catholics making up the majority on the bench (49%), followed by evangelicals, who correspond to a quarter. Parliamentarians from religions of African descent are a minority, 4%; and those with no religion, 11%.