Target: Michel Temer, president of Brazil
Goal: Demand a formal apology for comments associating women’s importance in society to expertise in domestic chores.
Brazilian President Michel Temer reduced the importance of women in society to duties such as taking care of homes, nurturing families, and checking changes in prices at the supermarkets. On International Women’s Day, a day meant to celebrate women, President Temer delivered a speech belittling women’s historical advancements and achievements. In the aftermath of the ouster of the first female president of Brazil, Temer’s comments reflect the push toward strong neoliberal policies that harm women and their rights the most.
Though President Temer stated that women have more chances to join the labor market nowadays, he shared a conservative view of the role of women in society, explicitly excluding men from the responsibility of raising and educating children and logistically supporting the household. These statements illustrate Temer’s backwards perspective of women’s role in society, which is clearly evident in his style of governing. Despite claiming that Brazilian women are not second-class citizens, President Temer had nominated only two women to his cabinet out of 28 vacant seats. The two nominations came only after a backlash against his initially all-male and all-white administration team, chosen after the controversial impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, the first woman elected president of Brazil. In his speech, Mr. Temer completely ignored at least seventy years of women’s struggles and some recently accomplished women in his country, especially in the field of science.
There is a great danger when national leaders share conservative ideas about women and gender, as such ideas tend to be translated into policies that hurt women. In the case of Brazil, the Temer administration is responsible for pushing forward several reforms and bills that negatively impact women’s healthcare, welfare, and retirement laws. One of his government first decisions was to dissolve and limit the work of the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, Youth and Human Rights. Considering the current importance of women’s struggles around the world, sign the petition below to demand apologies for the retrograde comments, stressing that there should be a definite change in how we see women nowadays.
Dear Mr. Temer,
While women in Brazil and the world are standing up for their rights, you have come forward to say that women should be praised instead for their expertise in domestic chores and that children’s education and domestic labor are not men’s responsibilities. It is outraging that someone on the top government position of a country endorses such outdated views and dismisses the achievements and advancements that women have made in recent history. More important, it is worrisome that such views might influence policies and legislation that directly affect women’s lives.
I demand you to apologize for your comments and acknowledge that women’s importance and contribution go far beyond than what you have said. You should encourage women and not hold them back.
[Your Name Here]