Jair Bolsonaro’s problem with women (who will vote in October) | International


President Bolsonaro, this Tuesday in the commemoration of Army Day, in Brasilia.DPA via Europa Press (Europa Press)

The misogynistic outbursts were part of the artillery of scandalous statements with which Jair Bolsonaro managed to be a politician known in all corners of a huge country like Brazil. When he was a deputy he blurted out to a leftist parliamentarian, in the plenary session of the House, “I will never rape you because you don’t deserve it.” The Brazilian president has a serious problem with women, an obstacle in his desire to be re-elected and a containment dam for those who want to see him far from power. Six months before the elections, the most recent polls indicate that only 25% of female voters are willing to vote for him, 22 points less than men. Brazil had never had a candidate with such disparate support between both genders until the retired military man came to the forefront of politics. Even in the election of Dilma Rousseff, some and others voted similarly.

“The first time they called me a misogynist, I didn’t know what it was, I had to Google it,” Bolsonaro said in an interview shortly after becoming president. Years before, he was the only deputy who voted against expanding labor rights for domestic workers.

It is often highlighted that evangelicals pushed for Bolsonaro’s victory in 2018 because eight out of ten voted for him. Another conclusive fact is much less remembered: two out of three Brazilian men dialed the military number in the electronic ballot box.

Bolsonaro and his team are aware of the problem —which he already had in 2018, although at the last minute he reversed the trend— and have begun to take measures to win over the female public, such as involving the first lady, Michelle, more and leaning on the pastor evangelical Damares Alves, until recently Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights. She has left office to run for the next elections.

And the president opened a gap for Brazilians in the weekly live broadcasts on Facebook. “This month of March, every Thursday, a minister will come to speak for a maximum of 10 to 12 minutes and comment on policies for women,” he announced. So it was. From that space in which a woman who is not the sign language translator rarely accompanies them, they and several secretaries of state broke down the government actions focused on Brazilian women.

Despite the precedent of Rousseff and the existence of quotas for candidacies, the presence of women in Brazilian politics is extremely scarce when compared to the rest of the world. This government has always had many more military ministers than women ministers. There is only one governor, and parliamentarians, mayors and councilors are around 15%.

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As with other far-right international leaders, female animosity towards Bolsonaro begins with his style. Sociologist Esther Solano explains that the Brazilian president “represents that macho model in which aggressiveness is an intrinsic element of his way of doing politics.” To those ways that accompany him during his long political career, others that have emerged since he was president are added. “Many Brazilian women are single mothers and consider care very important. For them, seeing how they made fun of the dead of covid has been very aggressive. They also find it frustrating that he presents himself as a defender of families and in the pandemic he reneged on his promise to take care of them.”

Although Brazil is one of the countries that has registered the most deaths from covid, Bolsonaro rejects the scientific evidence and has repeatedly mocked the dead with responses such as “my name is Messias but I do not perform miracles” or “I am not an undertaker” when the press I asked him about the dead, which exceed 660,000.

The specialists add that in addition, millions of them are heads of families who feel the serious economic crisis, that kind of noose around their necks that tightens more every day. And, although Bolsonaro constantly proclaims his defense of ultra-conservative values ​​and has appointed an openly evangelical judge to the Supreme Court, the evangelicals in particular disagree with him on another very burning issue: weapons. The measures approved to make the purchase of pistols and rifles more flexible are of great concern to that segment that is the majority among the faithful of the most thriving churches. For these poor women, black or mestizo, who live in suburban neighborhoods, the proliferation of weapons means more violence. And those who die are their children, emphasizes the sociologist from the Federal University of São Paulo.

Mrs. Bolsonaro and Pastor Damares starred alongside Bolsonaro in the acts of March 8. The speeches of both are tailored to conservative women with the traditional family as a pillar without forgetting the promotion of entrepreneurship or the fight against femicide.

A month before the last presidential elections, thousands of women marched in dozens of cities shouting “ele não” (he, no). That massive outcry against Bolsonaro made many progressives dream, but the far-right candidate nostalgic for the dictatorship came close to winning in the first round.

His unpopularity among women was reduced in the final stretch and finally 53% of Brazilian women voted for him. In Or Brazil dobrou to right (Brazil turned right), Jairo Nicolau discusses in detail this unique election and its results. He points out two reasons for the comeback among women (because Bolsonaro always had majority support among men): undecided women who leaned towards the captain and the influence of the evangelical leaders who asked for the vote for him (and against the Workers’ Party). of Lula).

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