More than half of Brazilian women consider themselves feminists, reveals survey

Women participating at the Fourth Black Women's March in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Women participating at the Fourth Black Women’s March in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Note from BBT: Today’s topic has been one that has intrigued me for a number years. In fact, when I first started posting material on this blog back in 2011, I decided to name the blog Black Women of Brazil. Over the course of the first five years, I had a number of people contact me, tell me they liked the blog but also inquire as to why I gave the blog this name.

Faced with this common question, I would always give the same basic response. As I had been following the question of race for a number of years in Brazil, I noted that much of the movement for black rights and the push for organizing around the theme of race was led by Afro-Brazilian women. There were all sorts of blogs and black women’s organizations that seemed to have taken the lead in the demands of the Brazil’s black population.

Black women and men were pushing for the acceptance of a specifically black identity in a country that had indoctrinated most of its African descendants to reject any terminology associated with blackness. Black women were out front calling for the acceptance of cabelo crespo, meaning kinky-curly hair which would lead to tens of thousands of black and brown Brazilian women to throw away the chapinha, or flattening iron, cut their hair to get rid of the harmful chemicals and start rocking their natural kinks, curls and waves. It was a fascinating transition to see.

It would be a few years until Afro-Brazilian men would start to push back against Brazilian standards that told men of African descent that if their hair was kinky or curly, they needed to shave it as close to the scalp as possible to avoid ridicule.

Soon, black women were organzing the first black women’s march in the country. As a spectator, it was amazing to see how quickly the attitudes changed in Brazil’s black community. In my view, the popularity of social networks helped black Brazil organize in about a decade what could arguably taken 20-30 years without social media.

With black women leading the way, it came as no surprise that a growing number of Afro-Brazilian women came to identify themselves as feminists. Knowing that their demands were slightly different from the overall Brazilian women’s movement which was lead by mostly white women, black women carved out their set of goals and agendas. Looking at the situation from somewhat close, it struck that black Brazilian women’s demands and leaderships seemed to coincide with the growth of feminism as a whole.

In 2019, it was estimated that 38% of Brazilian women 16 years of age or older considered themselves feminists while 56% rejecting the ideology. Another 6% didn’t feel one way or another on the topic. Research at the time reported that younger women were more likely to identify themselves as feminists (47%), with women between the ages of 35 to 44 years identify themselves less with the feminist movement (30%). The analysis also figured into women identifying themselves as feminists according to level of education. Women who studied up to high school represented 33% of those identifying as feminists, compared to 42% among those who had attained only an elementary school education and 44% among those who had gone to college.

The study also considered the masculine perspective with 52% of men saying they said they support feminism against 40% who rejected it and another 8% who had no opinion on the topic. Among men, again, it was the youngest who most supported the movement (61%), with lesser support among men over the age of 60 (49%). Similar to the women, there was also a variation when education is taken into consideration (47% within the group of less educated men and 53% among men who went up to just elementary school, but 58% when considering the men who had attended college.

But that was in 2019. In just three short years since that report, the women’s movement seems to have grown significantly according a study released back in March. In fact, it seems that in women are among the nations with the highest percentage of women that identify themselves as feminists.

Check the report below.

‘Women aren’t merchandise’ – Women at rally of International Women’s Day in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais

More than half of Brazilian women consider themselves feminists, reveals survey

Study conducted with adults from 30 countries also reveals that 23% of Brazilian men consider the feminist movement more harmful than beneficial

Courtesy of Galileo

A study conducted by the Ipsos Institute with adults from 30 countries reveals that 51% of Brazilian women consider themselves feminists. They are above the global average (47%) of women who agreed with the phrase “I define myself as feminist”.

The survey was released to discuss gender issues on International Women’s Day, which is celebrated every March 8th. According to the survey, the nation with the most feminist women is Romania (80%), followed by India, Malaysia, and South Africa (all with 64% affirmative answers). The lowest rates are in Russia (17%), Japan (21%), and South Korea (24%).

The study interviewed more than 20 thousand people online, between January 21 and February 4, 2022, in countries in Europe, Asia, America, Africa, and Oceania. Among the volunteers were more than a thousand Brazilians between the ages of 16 and 74. The survey’s margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.

One of the most striking data in the study regarding the country is that 23% of the Brazilians interviewed agreed that feminism does “more harm than good” to society.

Analyzing the global data, 26% believe that feminism does more harm than good. Russia is the country where most people agree with this idea: 42% of Russians have a dim view of feminist issues. The Netherlands, on the other hand, is where the fewest individuals have this thought: only 12% of Dutch respondents agreed.

Even if we are not in the worst scenario of all, the Brazilian position is alarming, according to Priscilla Branco, Public Affairs manager at Ipsos in Brazil. “Even though it is a minority, having about a quarter of the population believing that feminism brings more harm than good is worrisome, even more so in a country like Brazil, which sadly registers horrible numbers regarding violence against women,” says Branco, in a statement.

Marked by a plurality of agendas and strands, the feminist movement is extremely important. In Brazil, women obtained the right to vote in 1932, an achievement that happened thanks to the organization of feminist movements in the beginning of the 20th century. And since then, women have had access to various rights and places thanks to these initiatives.

Interviewees from Brazil by Ipsos were among those who least believe that feminism has caused political, economic and social losses for men

‘Feminism is the radical idea that women are people’

Still, 12% of Brazilians do not recognize that gender inequality exists. Disbelief in this issue is highest in Saudi Arabia (35%) and Malaysia (28%); in Japan and Belgium the indices are the lowest, 5% and 11%, respectively. The global average is 18%.

Despite this, respondents from Brazil are among those who least believe that feminism has caused political, economic and social losses for men – only 13% think so, the second lowest rate among the 30 nations surveyed, tied with France and only behind Italy (12%). This percentage is highest among the Polish (38%) and Chinese (28%).

Another issue is that, for 75% of the participants from Brazil, companies do not treat both genders equally. If only women’s answers are considered, the rate rises to almost 84%. After our country, those who disagree the most about the equality of men and women at work are Japan and Chile (both with 64%), followed by France (58%).

According to the survey, 27% of Brazilians believe that traditional masculinity is under threat today. The idea that masculine values are being weakened is greater among Russians (55%) and Hungarians (42%), and less present among Italians (16%), Turks (19%) and Dutch (19%).

The study shows that feminism is being discussed a lot recently, which is positive. “But many of these discussions end up falling into a context of polarization,” ponders Priscilla Branco. “The term itself is still controversial for many people, even for some who call themselves progressive. We have made progress in the fight for equality, but there is still a ways to go.”

SourceRevista Galileu

About Marques Travae 3746 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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