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Women in Congress

First of all, I apologise for the possible mistakes I may commit in the following text. English is not even my second language and sometimes it's hard to translate feelings and thoughts into words.

I grew up in Brasilia and also lived in two other capitals, one in Europe, one in North America. The environment helped to consolidate the politicized part of my personality. I have politicized friends and we share thoughts and discuss politics very often.

What is clear to everybody, either the non-politicized ones, is that politics has converted itself into nonsense. I can’t read a newspaper or watch the news on TV and feel the same at the end. I feel nauseous. The pillars of the public administration, which includes the public interest above private, are forgotten and we see corruption and politics interest outshine population welfare.

Some days ago, I visited the Brazilian Congress with an American friend. We had a tour with a considerate and well informed guide. He explained that just 10% of our Congressmen are women. Of a total of 513 representatives, we have 49 women. In the Senate, from 81 senators, just 10 are women. Maybe because we were two women, he brought this topic to the light. He said: “we’ve been living difficult days here” – he said in reference to the corruption scandals we’ve been exposed to lately. “The solution is, in my opinion, to bring more women to the Congress. Maybe you (and he pointed to me) could be one of the congressmen within some years”.

I laughed because I thought it was funny. And though I don’t have any political ambitious (what I like to do is to helping people to see how important politics is) I do believe in the solution he presented. It seemed ordinary and maybe naïve, but Brazil is immersed in political corruption, and it is fact that 143 of our voted representatives are proven to be involved in some corruption scheme. Just 3 of them are women.

In a time when constitutional principles are considered old fashioned and the population discredits politics, perhaps an ordinary idea can be the best solution. I do believe women can bring back morality to the Congress and to the country. We are strong, we have families, we have such power in our hands, we could change everything we want. Maybe it will take years until we have a half/half Congress. For now, we can start by raising our flags and dreams. And hope. One day… One day!

Ana Dutra


usha kc's picture

Ana dear,, nice to read you

Ana dear,, nice to read you article, nice analysis thank you for sharing. And me too hopping same!!

Stella Paul's picture

Sounds So Familiar!!!

Dear Ana

Your article describes something that's very close to what we have in my country(India) as well. Our parliament has two houses - Lok Sabha (where MPs are directly elected) and Rajyasabha (members are nominated). Now in the Lok Sabha, out of 552 members, we have only 58 women! Thats just 10%. We are fighting for 33% reservation for women, but so far, its been a far cry.
Having said that, I do believe that change is possible. There will be more room for women in politics in future.

Until then, good luck and best wishes!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

janarthani10's picture

Claiming your place in politics

Dear Ana,

Your post resonated deeply within me. I recalled the first time I went to Parliament and saw so few women in the corridors of power and felt great frustration and anger. In Malaysia, it is a Parliamentary system with two houses - The House of Representatives those who are elected - there are only 23 women out of 222 and the House of Senate which has 28 women out of 70. This is a paltry number and of great concern to me. We have the lowest level of women's political participation in the region. I agree with your guide entirely that it is going to take amazing women like you to fill up those places and change Brazil.

I wish you the best of luck and I loved your insights very much,

Best wishes.


choirgirl's picture

Women...but what kind of women??

Dear all,

since the topic has come out, I will make you have some fun by describing the women political situation in this wonderful, beautiful, fantastic, coherent, just, fairytale country named ITALY....hope you got the irony! ;)
Yes, as you all already wrote, the situation here is not much better, a few women politicians, but this is not what matters. The thing is: what kind of women are they??
Wanna know? Here I go: our Minister for Equal Opportunity is a woman, but she has a past in sexy calendars, she was a dancer in low quality tv programmes, she had showbiz can a woman who used her body to acheive success be the Ministry for Equal Opportunities?? Who does she represent? Not me, for sure!
Same applies to the Regional Counselor for Regione Lombardia, who was a kind of second class tv starlette and is now implied in prostitution traffic: she is accused to have selected prostitutes for our prime minister and still, she has not left her seat!
Let's go on: Education Minister, an insignificant woman who had the courage to say "studying is not so important", menaning that one could acheive his goals even with no education... Excuse me madam, are you Minister of what??
These is a brief, yet significant frame depicting the tragic situation of women in politics here in Italy. Of course, there are a couple of women I admire, but most of them are helplessly stupid and useful.
So my question is: Women in Parliament, but, what kind of women?

Despite the situation is so frustrating that it brings me to tears, hope you had fun!!



Hin Kunthea's picture

Women will help women...

I am sure women will help women. On the other hand I alway read all the comment to improve my writing, because i am poor at raise out idea, So I alway read other article as well as comment and I really bush into laugh when I read the Maria writing. I laugh because I face the same. In my country ( Cambodia) We need more women to have the voice in the higher ranking to lead the country. But I met one she is the women among the two how have position at provincial level and she has commit corruption openly to International Agency ,it is really ashame. We have the same same stories.....


Ana Dutra's picture

great debate

Dear colleagues,

The topic is controversial and I knew it would bring diverse ideas. Thank you all for your opinion. It's very important to start discussing and thinking about those matters in all our countries.

Usha, Jana and Stella Paul, I am sure women can bring light to our countries politics. As Kunthea said, women help women - I totally agree with that. Maria, I had a great time reading your comment (but at the same time, it's really sad), and you are right: morality depends on the type of people that are there and not just a gender factor. Fortunately, in Brazil the Ministers are appointed by the president and at least until now, we have nothing to complain about our female Ministers (the same cannot be said about the male ones).

We talked about Brazil, Italy, Malaysia, India, Cambodia... We are so far from each other but this sad reality is common to all of us. Let's all keep thinking about it. How could we bring women from region leadership to our national leadership?!


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