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Electoral Justice develops actions to increase women’s participation in politics

With the goal of stablishing a more balanced dispute in the elections, the Electoral Justice has been engaging in campaigns to increase women’s participation in politics. The statistic data showed a disproportion between the number of women voters and those who are wiling to run for an elective post: while they represent 52% of the total of voters, when talking about candidacies, they represented only 31.98% in the last election dispute (2016).

At the beginning of 2014, year of the General Elections, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) developed a campaign entitled “Women in Politics”, which was broadcasted on radio and television stations. Launched with the support of the Federal Senate and the feminine bench of the National Congress, the campaign remained on air until June of the same year. The number of candidates that are apt to run increased in 71% at those elections, in comparison with 2010.

The Electoral Judiciary School (EJE/TSE) also promoted debates about the subject, giving even more emphasis to the theme. On September 2015, a seminar about the politcal reform was held and one of the subjects was the increase of women’s performance.

In the same year, the National Congress approved alterations in the legislation in order to determine that the coalitions shall use 20% of their gratuitous electoral publicity on radio and television in order to encourage feminine participation in politics (Law n. 13,165/2015).

In 2016, in the VII Ibero-American Encounter of Electoral Magistrates, promoted by the TSE, one of the debated points was the challenge of the public power, political parties and international bodies; to guarantee the effective female participation in the politics of the countries. At the occasion, the representatives of many institutions signed the Declaração de Brasília (Brasilia Declaration) - document that had the deliberation about norms and means to strengthen women’s role and the participation of the representative systems of the Ibero-American countries.

The International Women Equality Day, celebrated on August 26, 2016, was also celebrated by the TSE.  The date symbolizes the history of women’s fights in search of gender valorisation, educational and professional parity and the increase of women’s participation in politics, by remembering the day in which women went to the ballot-boxes for the first time in the United States, in 1920.

The TSE, UN Women, Patrícia Galvão Institute (IPG) and the Research Group about Democracy and Inequality of the University of Brasilia (Demodê/UnB) launched the digital platform “City 50-50: Everybody for Equality,” with the purpose of strengthening the debate about equal rights between women and men in the 2016 Municipality Elections. Through the platform, candidates from the 5,568 Brazilian municipalities were an election was held could register and take on, publicly, commitments with the promotion of women’s rights, during the electoral campaign.

Application of the law

In the Plenary, the Justices also showed strictness when applying the legislation that aims to encourage women’s engagement. On September 2016, TSE members revoked the time for the partisan publicity, on radio and TV, of the state directory of the Partido Progessista (PP - Progressive Party) and the Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB - Brazilian Socialist Party) of Rio Grande do Sul and the Partido Republicano da Ordem Social (Pros - Republican Party of the Social Order) of Minas Gerais. The coalitions were punished for not giving at least 10% of its publicity for the promotion and diffusion of women’s participation in politics, according to the provision in Law n. 12,034/2009.

The measure was repeated on February 2017, when TSE’s Plenary decided to revoke the publicity time of 10 political parties (PRB, PHS, PT, PSB, PSC, PCdoB, PR e PV) that did not follow the rule stipulated in Law n. 13,165/2015, which guarantees 20% of the gratuitous publicity on radio and TV to encourage women to run for the elections.

The norm, that aims to diffuse women’s presence, is provisioned in the Political Party Law (Law n. 9,096/1995, Art. 45, paragraph 2, subsection II) and determines that the loss of publicity time is to be done in the following semester of the illegal broadcast and should be equivalent to five times of the irregularly broadcasted time. In other words, the coalitions have lost, proportionally, the time of insertions that they would have the right on the first semester of 2017.

At the occasion of the trial, the Justices highlighted that it is not enough for the candidate to talk about sexual violence or harassment against women to fulfill the legal demand. The assignee of the case at the time, Justice Herman Benjamin, emphasized that the law’s aim is not to use the time of political-partisan publicity to inform women of what is being proposed in their favor in the Legislative Houses by their male representatives, or promoting campaigns about women’s rights but rather encourage them to engage in partisan life.

“I think that the law’s aim is to end the system in which men make themselves the natural representatives of women. The norm intends to make a woman recognize that she is a citizen equal to a man, with her own voice to defend her rights,” he said during the last session.

CM/LC