In a more diverse world, the lack of diversity in public decision-making centers becomes a challenge to democracy
Written by Fernando Cafe
Brazil celebrates its independence on September 7, in which several civic parades show the evolution —or not — of the country. But a true symbol of autonomy and transformation came a day later: on September 8, 1928, Luiza Alzira Teixeira Soriano broke through patriarchal barriers and became the first woman to become mayor in the interior of Brazil.
Reported by The New York Times, this action was unprecedented, because the political environment was dominated by male and patriarchal elites who monopolized local administration. Nine decades later, the scenario has changed and democratic debates have taken new directions, but the same challenge that Alzira faced still remains: the lack of representation in politics.
Constantly, women, blacks, and the LGBTQIA+ population, for example, suffer systemic exclusion from participation in power centers. This occurs because historical barriers of prejudice are deeply rooted in the political structure, which is reflected in the difficulties of this social portion of even having financial support to participate in the electoral dispute. Brazil, a country that has historically neglected the right to vote in the past, has only 18% of women in the Câmara dos Deputados (legislative power), according to data from the Parliamentary Union, which contrasts directly with the percentage of the female population in the country, which is 51.1% (IBGE).
This gap has an impact on the social reality, given that, in a political scenario that does not have in its administrators people who represent the population neglects the true needs of the country. This results in a systematic removal of the citizens from the centers of political participation and makes the social demands of these groups invisible to the detriment of the dominant interests.
Therefore, a healthy democracy cannot be conceived when its citizens are not represented in the political decisions of the country.