by Natasha Pitts
On the first of the month, the Articulação de Organizações de Mulheres Negras Brasileiras (AMNB or Articulation of Brazilian Black Women’s Organizations) will participate in a session of the Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, DC. During the thematic hearing, scheduled by the Organization of American States (OAS), the members of AMNB will denounce the Brazilian State for the lack of public policies aimed at black women.
In the words of Simone Cruz, executive secretary of AMNB, timing is important because it is a chance to bring the needs of these women to the fore.
Simone Cruz of Articulation of Black Brazilian Women’s Organizations (AMNB)
“The importance of this hearing is to bring visibility to the actual situation of black women, who represent 49% of Brazilian women and are under-represented or not represented in various areas. We want to present to that audience a tone of denouncement, but we also want to get a proposal dialogue with the government because we believe that the end of inequality can only happen from the actions and implementation of public policies created together,” she said.
During the hearing issue, the focus will be on two issues: Black women’s health and domestic work, issues that have been brought to the Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which may be reinforced on occasion.
The themes were not chosen by chance. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 90% of domestic jobs are held by women, and of this percentage, over 82% are black women. The executive secretary adds, with data bases in the joint itself, that black women are champions in the performance of housework without having secured their labor rights. For this reason, one of the recommendations is to guarantee social security for workers.
Articulation of Brazilian Black Women’s Organizations
Regarding health, the situation is also difficult for them because of lack of access to essential services. Simone Cruz says health institutions in Brazil are not able to attend to (the needs of) black women.
“They are less touched by gynecologists and doctors and more die from complications in childbirth, pregnancy and postpartum. What we see is the inability of institutions to understand the needs of the women and also know that they are treated differently, configuring institutional racism“, she assures, noting that among the recommendations in this area will be the request of the qualifications of professionals who provide care.
Reviewing some important data, Simone pointed out that with regard to mortality of black and white women between the ages of 10 to 29 years, if the maternal death rate among black women is 3.3% while among white women it is 1.6%. In the case of AIDS deaths, 2.2% were black and 1.4% white.
Simone says that with this audience they expect concrete answers that can end the inequalities that black women have been subjected to. “If there are actions that give account of care and access for black women, I believe that within one year we will already be able to see results and concrete answers.”
Nilza Iraci of the Geledés Institute of Black Women
Besides the AMNB’s executive secretary, also be present at the hearing will be the president of the Geledés – Instituto da Mulher Negra (Institute of Black Women), Nilza Iraci, and director of the Global Rights’ Latin America Program, Carlos Quesada.
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