Women represent the majority of the Brazilian electorate, but are still far from being elected in the same proportion as men. According to data from the “Cadastro Eleitoral”, there are more than 77 million female electors in Brazil, which represents 52.5% of the 147.5 million electors in total. Among this number, only 9.204 (31.6%) women ran for an office during the 2018 General Elections. Of these, 290 were elected, a raise of 52.6% if compared to 2014.
Whereas the disproportion, there was an advance towards gender equality. In 2014, 190 women were chosen for taking office, which was equivalent to 11.10% of the total of 1.711 elected candidates. Last year, the 290 female candidates elected corresponded to 16.20% of the 1.790 total, an increase of 5.10% in relation to the previous election.
For the Chamber of Deputies, in 2018, there were elected 77 women parliamentarians, an increase of 51% in relation to the previous election, when there were chosen only 51 women. In the Legislative Assemblies, were elected 161 representatives, a raise of 41.2% in comparison to 2014, when there were chosen 114 women for the State Deputy office.
Still regarding the Chamber of Deputies, the bench from the state of São Paulo was the one with most elected women: 11, close to double of the candidates chosen by the same state in 2014. The state of Rio de Janeiro comes second, with 10 federal deputies elected in 2018. Paraná, as well as Distrito Federal, elected 5 women each, followed by Minas Gerais, Piauí, Acre and Santa Catarina, that had four candidates elected in each state. Amazonas, Maranhão e Sergipe didn’t elect any women for the federal deputy office in 2018.
At the Federal Senate, seven women were elected – same number as 2010 – which, now, represents 13% of the parliamentarians in the chamber.
Many initiatives in support to the candidature of women have appeared in the last years, fact that has collaborated for the growth of the female representativeness in politics. In 1997, the “Lei das Eleições” (Lei n. 9.504) has started to reserve a number of spots for the participation of women in proportional offices.
Also, the “Lei n. 12.034”, approved in 2009, created a mandatory quota of 30% of women among the total of candidatures. The rule established that the candidature of proportional offices – federal deputy, state or district deputy and city councilman – should be filled (and not only reserved, as it was before) with the minimum of 30% and maximum of 70% of citizens from each sex. It was verified, however, that Parties would launch candidatures of women only to complete the quota, without investing in their campaigns.
Because of that, for the General Elections of 2018, the Superior Electoral Court, by the “Resolução TSE n. 23.553/2017”, established that political parties should designate a minimum of 30% from the total of resources, originated from the “Fundo Partidário” used for electoral campaigns, for financing women candidatures.
The rule also determined that the resources from the “Fundo Partidário” ought to be applied “in the creation and maintenance of programs directed to propagation and diffusion of women participation in politics, created and supported by each party’s women secretariat or, if inexistent, by the institute or foundation for research, indoctrination and political education referred to at the item IV, according to percentage that will be fixated by the national organ of party leadership, observed a minimum of 5% (five percent) from the total”.
The determinations of the “Resolução 23.575/2018” were implemented after the decision taken by TSE in may, when the Court’s Plenary confirmed that the parties associations ought to reserve at least 30% of the resources from the “Fundo Especial de Financiamento de Campanha” (in Portuguese), also called “Fundo Eleitoral”, for financing the candidature of women.
A ranking of women participation in the parliament elaborated in 2017 by UN Women, in partnership with the Interparliamentary Union (UIP), placed Brazil in the 154th position regarding women representation. In total were analyzed 174 countries.
Between 33 Latin-American and Caribbean countries, Brazil was placed in the 32nd position regarding the presence of women in the national parliaments, a result more successful only if compared to Belize (3.1%). At Latin America and Caribbean, the average number of women in chamber of deputies and other organs was measured around 28.8%.