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Date: Fri, 3 Feb 1995 07:30:26 -0800
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
From: Sabina <sgastete@u.washington.edu>
Subject: BRASIL: What do women want?

This article comes from HRNet. For more information please write to Debra Guzman at DEBRA@OLN.comlink.apc.org

## author : maryknollbr@ax.apc.org
## date : 19.01.95

What do women want?

From Servico Brasileiro de Justica e Paz, News from Brazil, No. 162, 19 January 1995

In an article published in the Folha de Sao Paulo (12/94), Marta Suplicy, a PT federal deputy from Sao Paulo responds to the question of feminism in Brazil. Her editorial WHAT DO WOMEN WANT? is a response to an earlier article written by Otavio Frias Filho which was also published in the Folha. Filho concluded that feminism has lost its reason for being because women want too many incompatible things: equality, romance, success in work, healthy family life.

Suplicy, a psychoanalist, points out how difficult it is for Brazilian women to achieve success in work due to patriarchal political and cultural structures. Only in 1995, the Congress is composed of 95% men and 5% women. However, she affirms that Brazilian feminism continues to grow more rapidly in the lower classes. Suplicy believes that this growth is the fruit of the work of the catholic church with the poor to achieve basic human rights. The struggle of women for daycare, housing, health posts, asphalt, and running water results in a change in a woman's vision of herself. Suplicy asks the question: How do you explain to a landless woman who succeeded in struggling against politicians and the system to get decent housing that she now has to lower her head and be submissive to her husband in all things? The exercise of citizenship and the fight for human rights changes interpersonal relationships.

Carol Gilligan, in her book A DIFFERENT VOICE shows how boys tend to solve disputes in games more quickly than girls. Boys tend to stick by the rules to the letter while girls are more disposed to make exceptions and be more pragmatic and innovative. The new generation of Brazilian women are challenging the rules, not just in games but in politics, culture, and society.

Another study shows that Brazilian men who are married to women who also work outside the home have difficulty accepting the concept of equal division of home labor. Suplicy concludes that equal sharing of home labor is a long way from most Brazilian homes but that feminist equality principles continue to grow, particularly among lower class women.