women's rights

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By RACHEL MORENO*

The Bolsonaro government wants to reduce women to the condition of mere breeders, ignorant and complacent, encouraging a return to medieval values.

“Jair Bolsonaro's government deepens an ideological stance in diplomatic negotiations on a UN resolution that condemns gender discrimination and tries to strengthen women's rights,” says journalist Jamil Chade, in his column on UOL.

At issue is a text, presented by Mexico, which aims to “eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls”, reinforcing the fight for gender equality as one of the goals of the 2030 goals.

But the strangeness is not just about Jamil Chad. Camila Asano, director of programs at Conectas Human Rights, also says:

“Brazil once again causes an international embarrassment and establishes itself in the group of countries that adopt the most retrograde postures in the discussions on gender in the United Nations”.

“Itamaraty goes against all the consensus built over decades on the subject and is now seen with disrepute. The body's stance is inconsistent with the policies adopted in Brazil for years and with the international commitments assumed by the country in terms of gender and sexual and reproductive rights,” she said.

The text in question from the UN Human Rights Council gained importance mainly at a time when the pandemic reveals the disparity with which the crisis has disproportionately affected women in the world.

But, faced with this situation, Minister Ernesto Araujo, representing Brazil, closed a position with some of the most repressive governments against women, such as the Saudis and those of Islamic countries.

Russia has also adopted postures similar to those of Itamaraty, under this current and shameful direction.

Europeans, Israel and Latin Americans support the proposed text at the UN

Claiming that the Brazilian recommendation aims to not allow the use of “expressions that generate controversy”, the Itamaraty states that “Family planning is a matter of freedom of the couple and the state is responsible for providing resources to this right, without coercion”, he added.

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 193 member countries of the United Nations officially adopted the new sustainable development agenda, entitled “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, at the Sustainable Development Summit, held in UN headquarters in New York, September 2015. This agenda contains 17 Goals and 169 targets.

I reproduce below a summary published on the website of the multilateral organization about the Brazilian conquests.

Among the achievements in relation to the MDGs in Brazil are:

Goals 01 Poverty Eradication and Goal 02 Zero Hunger – in which international and national goals were achieved in 2012, after the two Lula governments and the beginning of President Dilma Roussef's management. Extreme poverty fell from 25% in 1990 to 3% in 2013.

Goal 04 Quality education – seeks to ensure quality inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. In basic education, the unequal access to school for children aged 7 to 14 was overcome thanks to the successive policies of universalization of education. As for young people aged 15 to 24 with at least six years of schooling, the percentage increased from 59,9% in 1990 to 84% in 2012.

Goal 03 Health and well-being – positively impacts women's health with the infant mortality goal achieved, with a reduction to 17,7 deaths per thousand live births in 2011, with a progressive trend of improvement, in addition to Maternal Health with the mortality rate Brazilian maternal care dropped by 55% from 1990 to 2011. Monitoring of pregnant women was intensified.

Goal 05 Gender Equality – seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Currently, Brazilian women have greater access to education than men and there has also been progress in terms of female participation in the labor market and women's political representation.

This year (2020), one of the objectives would still be to address the overlapping – or intersection – of discrimination suffered by women. But the current chief minister of the Itamaraty, Ernesto Araújo, asks that the entire paragraph that tries to define the concept of intersection be deleted. Brazil's proposal is also supported by Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Iraq or Indonesia.

In another passage, Brazil still asks for the elimination of references to reproductive rights and sexual health for women, revealing the sexist and retrograde character, going against the social and civilizing advances achieved with the Brazilian Constitution of 1988.

Along with the Saudis, the Itamaraty of this current government, which deserves the stigma of returning us to the middle ages, when women had no rights, also suggests suppressing a paragraph in the project about access to “family planning and modern methods of contraception”.

Here, frame closes

In Brazil, Minister Damares, irresponsibly minimizing violence against women, and going against all indicators of gender violence, has already autocratically diagnosed that it would be a consequence of the feminists’ demand for equality – “feminists ask for equality, and then the boys think girls can handle violence the same way they do, and they hit them!” A biased, ignorant and authoritarian attitude on the part of the occupant of the Ministry of State for Women, Family and Human Rights.

And which, today, brings together selected professionals to develop a policy of sexual abstinence, as a “government policy”.

More recently, the new secretary of science, technology and strategic inputs (where clinical studies on drugs are monitored and their effectiveness evaluated), Hélio Angotti Neto, in addition to declaring himself an Olavista, and defending the use of chloroquine in all press conferences, also openly pursues women's sexual and reproductive rights.

In a recent interview, Angotti would have declared

“There is a gross manipulation of expressions such as health and rights, so that the attempt to legalize the murder of one's own offspring, of our children, becomes a reproductive right and reproductive health. It is very low-quality semantic manipulation, but it convinces people who are unprepared in philosophical terms. That it is considered healthy, dignified or fair to kill defenseless fetuses is a clear sign that there is indeed a controversial attitude towards human life and its dignity.”

And now, Brazil joins Islamic countries against the UN resolution for women's rights, and asks for the elimination of references to reproductive rights and sexual health for women, in addition to the deletion of the paragraph that speaks of "access to family planning and modern methods of contraception”, as well as sex education.

Aligned as it is, this government wants to reduce women to the condition of mere breeders, ignorant and complacent, encouraging a return to medieval values.

This attitude is added to the effort in other areas (health, education, economy, treatment of journalists, political and subaltern alignment) in taking the country into dark times, laden with ignorance, mediocrity, and violence against those who disagree with this intention.

The picture is not limited to women's sexual and reproductive rights. We will also have the accusation regarding Bolsonaro’s treatment of journalists in general, and of women journalists, more particularly.

Bianca Santana will take the floor to present her case (in May, she was accused by the president of writing 'fake news', after she published an article about the relationship between Bolsonaro's family and friends with those accused of murdering councilwoman Marielle Franco) .

This, in addition to the denunciation of a series of Brazilian entities (including the Movement of Small Farmers, the Coordination of Indigenous Nations, the remnants of Quilombos do Para and others), at that same meeting in Geneva, against the dismantling of environmental policies of the Bolsonaro government, also warning about the attitude of the Minister of the Environment – ​​Ricardo Salles – of “passing the cattle”, taking advantage of the distraction of the population and the media, with the pandemic.

Ignoble times that will involve us for generations to come, if we don't do something to stop them, and now!

* Rachel Moreno is a psychologist and feminist activist. Author, among other books, of The image of women in the media (Popular expression).

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