by Dayene Peixoto, Isabel Vilela, Marcela Heitor, Renata and Rosane Queiroz
The Portrait of Race and Gender Inequality, a study released in September of 2008 by the Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea – Institute of Applied Economic Research), shows that if the color is added to the feminine gender, the condition worsens: black women have less schooling than white women, their working conditions are more precarious and they earn, on average, R$383.4 reais (worth $191) – receiving 32% of the wages of white men – while the wages of white women (an average of R$742.1 reais or $371) are worth 63% of white male paychecks. In the homes, black women lack many things: 17% do not have refrigerators, 77% still wash clothes by hand, 67% live without a telephone or cell phone and 89% have never had a freezer. The occupation profile of this group is just a tad different from the activities exercised in the time of the master’s house and the slave house. Black women are widely employed in the most common professional category in Brazil: they are 80% of the 6.8 million women that work as domestics. In this relationship marked by the informality, only 27% of domestics own an official working card that entitles them to vacations and a minimum retirement from INSS (Instituto Nacional do Seguro Social or Social Security). Having a diploma in hand and money in the bank is a rare feat. To ascend professionally, black women overcome economic difficulties and countless humiliations. Each one that manages to overcome these odds points to dozens of colleagues who have tried and failed.
On her way to the Camp, the bus passed Avenida Paulista (1). “I saw the scenarios that I had seen in films: those well-dressed young women crossing Avenida Paulista excited me.” She didn’t waste much time becoming one of them. Studying and working in CAMP, she entered the Accounting program at the Ibirapuera University in the evening. From traineeship to traineeship, she landed a job on one of São Paulo’s executive avenues. She got up at 5 in the morning, packed her lunch, went to school at night and slept for four hours a night. At home, she spoke English all the time with her sister. She began teaching at a language school on Saturdays.
The trainee job in the financial auditing firm Ernst & Young was the gateway to the world that she dreamed of. “It is a company with headquarters in 147 countries, there are people of all colors and nationalities.” She continues, “This wasn’t luck, I worked hard,” Claudia said to friends in the neighborhood who thought that fate weighed much on her destination. “Years later, in selecting the job I have now, I still had doubts: ‘Will they accept me?’ She didn’t see blacks in office and she was accustomed to being the only black person in this environment. The auditor is used to being the only one in the jobs that makes conquests. “I try to remove the discrimination from my head. If you think about it, you don’t move forward.” But she smelled a rat when her boyfriend, a Swiss man, took her to meet his family in his country. “He treated me so cold. I asked, ‘Are you ashamed because I am different from everybody around here?’ The romance ended.
Source: Revistas Brasileiros, Claudia