Black women in Brazil are standing up and demanding equality.
On Wednesday November 17, 2015, at least 10,000 black women from across Brazil marched in the nation’s capital to condemn violence, racism, and lack of gender equality. Protesters gathered outside of the National Congress of Brazil to demonstrate their objection to recent conservative bills that attempt to reduce their rights.
Last month Brazil’s lower chamber commission approved a bill that limits access to the morning-after pill, and information about abortions to rape victims. The bill also removes the obligation for hospitals to provide rape victims with information about their rights and available health services. TeleSur reports that lawmakers also approved a legislative report that suggests hospitals warn the police every time a woman is examined over abortion-related issues.
Minister of Women, Racial Equality and Human Rights, Nilma Lino, stated that the march was important for not only defending the rights of women, but also for giving visibility to women of Afro-descent.
In a statement to the Associated Press, event co-organizer, Valdecir Nascimento, stated that the march was intended as a response to the "vulnerability and fragility" that more than 57 million black and mixed Brazilian women face on a daily basis.
The Associated Press also reports that black women in Brazil are more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts. According to the national statistics agency, black women are also twice as likely as white women to be illiterate, and on average they earn less than white women or men of either race.
According to a recent government report, black women in Brazil who suffer from both racial and gender discrimination, are more likely to be victims of violence and homicide. The murder rate of black women in Brazil grew by 54 percent over the last decade, while the murder rate of light-skinned women dropped by 9.8 percent. Earlier this year to combat this, the Brazilian government signed a measure to increase the penalty for crimes committed against women.