Brazilian women status today

Neither Giselle, nor destitute homeless. A new portrait of Brazilian women emerges from a series of studies released in the last few days. She studies and works hard, both at home and professionally, earns less than her male counterparts and has an increasing importance in the country’s economy.

According to Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea), a federal think-tank, the International Labour Organization and Serasa Experian consultants, Brazilian women:

  • Study more – 56.8% of 15 to 17-year-old girls were in school in 2008 (at the grades expected for their age), while only 44.4% of boys were studying. A similar proportion can be observed among young adults, according to Ipea : 15.7% of women and 11.8% men between 18 e 24 were in college two years ago.
  • Do most of the housework – Really, no surprise here. According to Ipea, women dedicate, in average, 23.9 weekly hours to cooking and cleaning their own houses, while men spend 9.7 hours on those chores.
  • A high percentage has bad jobs – In 2008, 42.1% of working women are paid either low or no salaries, or have informal jobs (no vacations, no job stability, no paid retirement). In contrast, only 26.2% of men work under those conditions. In fact, these numbers hide some good news. Things are getting a little better. In 1998, 48.3% of women and 31.2% of men had jobs this insecure.
  • Earn less than men  – Again, no surprises. In 2008, the average woman’s salary was R$ 701 (today, around 397 dollars) while men would make R$ 1070 (606 dollars). This means women earn only  65.5% of men’s incomes, even when they have the same level of education. Ipea associates this difference to three elements: women work fewer hours (of course, not counting housework), they have to take the worst jobs and face barriers to their professional growth in many work environments.
  • Are the main source of income of one third of Brazilian families – According to the ILO, this is a growing trend. Also, 5.9% of the mothers raise their kids alone.
  • House keeping, cooking and babysitting is still the many feminine occupation – still quoting the ILO, 15.8% of Brazilian women work in someone’s house.
  • Are the majority of the upper classes – according to Serasa Experian, 4.9 million women and 4.7 million men belong to the so-called A and B classes, that includes the richest 7.12% of the population.
  • Represent only 10% of politicians – Even if two women are candidates in the Presidential campaign (Dilma Rousseff and Marina Silva), their gender is very misrepresented in Brazilian Politics. Congress has 513 representatives, but only 45 congresswomen. The situation is slightly better in the Senate – 10 women and 71 men.

Most specialists quoted by the Brazilian press on these numbers say the cup is (very moderately) fuller.

6 thoughts on “Brazilian women status today”

  1. Thaddeus, as always, all links are indicated in the text. In this specific case, in the second paragraph’s links (and, please, because I have been changing the blog’s layout, give me you feedback in case you think they are too discreet).

  2. I just wanted to let you know that i’ve been reading your blog for several months now and i just love it! I spent some time all over the country last summer and it is so nice to keep up with what’s going on in the country. keep up the fantastic work! the new layout is great too.

  3. Thank you so much. It is really cool to have your feedback. I have been posting less than desirable lately – decided to concentrate on improving the layout first – but I hope to go back to the former rhythm. And, please, whenever you have any suggestions, feel free to express them.

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