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Women and indigenous people make little progress in representation in Amazon

Region had only one female senator elected, out of the nine available seats in this year's elections. The percentage of women among deputies is also less than 20%

Alice Martins

With information from Jobson Marinho


Professora Dorinha, do União Brasil, é unica mulher eleita senadora na Amazônia - Créditos Divulgação Câmara dos Deputados.jpg
Professora Dorinha (União party), was the only woman from the Amazon region elected to a senatorial seat - Photo: Divulgação - Câmara dos Deputados

Despite more than 51% of the region's electorate being female, women were a minority in the last elections in the nine Amazon states: no female governor and only one female senator elected (Professora Dorinha, from União - TO), from the total of nine seats. The numbers are similar to those of 2018, when there were also no women elected to the state government and only two were elected to the Senate, in Maranhão and Mato Grosso: Eliziane Gama (PPS - MA) and Juíza Selma (PSL - MT) - Selma was impeached in her first year in office, being replaced, after new elections for the position, by Carlos Fávaro (PSD), in 2020.

When evaluating the results for deputies, both federal and state, the representation of women also shows little progress. Women represent only 18.6% of the region's elected federal deputies and 19.12% of state deputies. The results are also similar to 2018, when they characterized 18.48% of elected federal deputies and 18.33% of state deputies in the region.  

The states of Amazonas and Tocantins did not elect any women in their benches in the Federal Chamber this time - Amazonas also did not elect a female representative in 2018 and in that year Maranhão also did not elect a woman to federal deputy, but this year it elected three.

Gleys Ramos, coordenadora do Observatório Transdisciplinar sobre Feminismo, Política e Métodos (OUTRAS) - Créditos Arquivo pessoal.jpeg
Gleys Ramos, from OUTRAS - Photo: Personal archive

Gleys Ramos, coordinator of the Transdisciplinary Observatory on Feminism, Politics and Methods (OUTRAS) in the state of Tocantins, laments the outcome of this year's elections and assesses some of the factors contributing to the low growth of women in politics in the region. "We didn't manage to advance in terms of representation because when a woman is elected, she usually fills a vacancy that was previously occupied by another woman. In other words, the number doesn't grow", she explains.

For her, another factor that hinders the insertion of more women is political violence, a problem also perceived in the rest of Brazil and the world. According to a survey conducted by DataSenado, in partnership with the Observatory of Women Against Violence, three out of ten female candidates in the 2020 elections were discriminated against for being women.

Only one indigenous woman from the region was elected to the federal legislature

Silvia Waiãpi (PL-AP), was elected to the position of federal deputy - Photo: Fatima Meira/Futura Press/Estadão

In terms of representativeness, a relevant fact is that, in the whole of Brazil, only five people self-declared as indigenous have won a seat in the Federal House of Representatives. Of this number, only one, Silvia Waiãpi (PL-AP), elected to the position of federal deputy, is from the Amazon, a region which concentrates 98% of the total area of demarcated indigenous lands in the country, according to the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). Even in Roraima, the state with the largest indigenous land in the country (Yanomami), no indigenous candidate was elected.

Toya Manchineri, general coordinator of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), considers the regional result of the movement "Bancada do Cocar", a national articulation that sought to elect candidates linked to indigenous associations, in several instances, to be below expectations.

For Manchineri, what is missing to expand political representation is to get closer to other population groups. "We need to make an alliance with the quilombolas and riverine people for the next elections, to defend the collective interests. We also have to work with the urban population, occupy more spaces to gain more visibility among non-indigenous people", he concludes.