Black and poor women may decide who will be the next president of Brazil by 2020
I recently had the opportunity to visit Latin America for the first time, but this was the first time I had ever been in Brazil. As the first and only daughter of non-Brazilian parents, I have always had a particular interest in the region and was curious to learn of the various social and political conditions that have made Brazil an extraordinary success and a beacon of hope for many, not just her citizens; a success that was also helped along by her recent economic growth.
I arrived in San Salvador, El Salvador, a small city which is known as the “city of the flowers” for its flower market, to research the current presidential elections where the country’s current president, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, is campaigning against the conservative politician Oswaldo Ramos.
This election has become an important test of social mobility and gender equality in Latin America, and has also brought to the forefront questions about identity and citizenship.
In the current climate, which sees many countries in Latin America, and indeed the entire world, facing financial crisis, the idea of social mobility has become even more relevant.
This is true with politicians like the conservative presidential candidate in Brazil, who argues that Brazil is heading for an economic disaster, and therefore government intervention will be necessary to ensure that the poor and women can access the welfare benefits that can keep their families afloat.
This is a topic that has gained new headlines in the current election, where the current president has been accused of being a misogynist who does not really care about the rights of women, or the welfare of those who are considered the less fortunate.
Although I was not able to witness this particular debate in person, I did find that one of the most powerful women in Brazilian politics, Fernanda Bernardes Pereira, was campaigning for Fernando Haddad, the former president of the country, in the election, which, although he is not in the presidential contest, could have huge implications for the future of Brazilian society. However, she was not allowed to campaign because her gender was a hindrance to her presidential aspirations, so she left the city of Manaus as the only woman with a chance at having the presidential ballot, in which she would represent the poor, but also the women who feel that their voice is not heard.
When I travelled