Women's Day, women's energy breaking barriers

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International Women's DayInternational Women's Day, celebrated on March 8, was officially created by the UN in 1975. Every year, the date is celebrated in more than 100 countries and stresses the importance of women in society and the history of the struggle for their rights.

There is no unanimity as to the origin of women's day. Some associate the emergence of the date with the strike of the women who worked in New York at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company and the fire that occurred there in 1911.

Others indicate that it emerged in the Russian Revolution of 1917, marked by various demonstrations and claims by women workwomen. On March 8, 1917, some 90,000 Russian workers took to the streets demanding better living and working conditions and spoke out against the actions of the current regime. This event became known as "Bread and Peace". This is because the demonstrators were fighting hunger and World War I (1914/1918).

Although there are different versions of the origin of the date, the manifestations of the time were intended to warn about the unhealthy state of work to which women were subjected, in addition to the long days and low salaries they received. Therefore, the struggle of these workers focused on the search for better living and working conditions, in addition to the right to vote. In view of this, the creation of a day dedicated to the struggle of women was outlined by protests that took place simultaneously in the United States and in several cities in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century.

In 1910, Clara Zetkin of the German Communist Party proposed the creation of a day dedicated to women during the "International Conference of Socialist Women" held in Denmark. However, the date was only definitively instituted by the UN in 1975, in honor of the struggle and achievements of women.

The Struggle of Brazilian Women for the Right to Vote

In the first decades of the 20th century, the great political theme in Brazil was the claim of the right to vote for women. Berta Lutz, the great Brazilian suffragette leader, brought together a group of women from the bourgeoisie to publicize the demand. Daring, pamphlets were spread over Rio de Janeiro, asking for the female vote in the early 1920s!

They pressured federal deputies and senators and, later, President Getúlio Vargas. After all, the female vote was granted in 1933 by him and guaranteed in the Constitution of 1934. But it was only put into practice with the fall of the Getulist dictatorship and Brazilian women voted for the first time in 1945.

Feminism in Brazil and in the World

The women's struggle for recognition and equality gained great momentum from the second half of the 20th century. A key contribution was the publication in 1949 of the book "The Second Sex" by the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908/1986), a dense research on the female condition at different historical moments. She introduced the idea that being a woman is not a determination of biological sex, but a social construction, expressed in the famous phrase "you are not born a woman, you become". In this construction would be the basis of the oppression of women.

The arrival of the contraceptive pill on the market in the 1960s played a decisive role in the expansion of sexual freedom and family planning of married women.

In the United States, the episode of "burning bras" that was associated (often with a stereotypical and anti-feminist charge) with militants for decades occurred at that time. The context was that of a protest held by the women's liberation movement in 1968 against the Miss America beauty pageant. The event became a historic milestone in the feminist struggle.

In Brazil, as in other Latin American countries, the mobilization of women against machismo in the 1960s and 1970s had a specific background: the military dictatorship (1964/1985). Among the many publications of the alternative press of the time, there were also important feminist periodicals such as "Nosotras", "Mulherio" and "Brasil Mulher".

In addition, even in a context of repression, feminist groups formed in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and also in exile in countries such as the United States, Chile and France. Her performance, however, was viewed with hostility by sectors of the left, who considered secondary the feminist agendas related, for example, to sexuality, and to the autonomy of women over their own bodies. In the view of these sectors, redemocratization, amnesty and class differences should take priority and feminism would be "diverting" its focus.

In the last decade, with street protests, social media campaigns, new collectives organized by young women and a proliferation of feminist websites and blogs since 2010, many have announced the arrival of a new feminist wave. This movement has made feminism more comprehensive and has had an impact on culture, social relations, institutions and institutional politics. Hashtags have become an important tool of feminist mobilization, allowing women around the world to feel their indignation and feel supported by the accounts of others, and also publicly expose their experiences related to machismo.

In Brazil, campaigns such as #chegadefiufiu, launched in 2013 against sexual harassment in public spaces, #meuprimeiroassédio and #meuamigosecreto, both from 2015, brought to light the veiled omnipresence of harassment in women's lives. Also in 2015, Brazilian women took to the streets in several Brazilian cities in a movement that became known as the "Feminist Spring".

In 2017, Americans reacted to the election of Donald Trump with a historic demonstration against the president in several cities. The largest of them, in the capital Washington, had almost 500,000 people. They took a stand against Trump's misogynistic conduct and the setbacks his administration could bring to women's rights, for example by suspending the right to legal abortion.

At the end of the same year, the explosion of a scandal involving allegations of sexual abuse committed systematically over the years against women by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein triggered the movento #MeToo (me too). Accusations against powerful men have multiplied in different areas and countries.

On the eve of the 2018 Brazilian elections, women led large protests in several Brazilian cities against then-candidate Jair Bolsonaro, also expressing their opposition on social media through the hashtag #elenão. The acts were considered as the largest manifestation of women in the history of Brazil.

Labor Market

After years of struggles, the role of women in society has undergone major changes, especially in relation to the labor market. Thus, today they hold leadership positions; start their own business; are recognized for their results; professional career and maternity; are scientists, doctors, congresswomen, engineers.

This current reality, however, is the result of a long process. Only with the consolidation of the labor laws of 1943 were the Brazilian women able to work outside without the authorization of her husband. This also enabled them to earn the right to maternity leave.

In the world, relevant achievements were also recorded in the scope of work. Paid maternity leave has become law in many countries, along with the adoption of legal mechanisms that seek to prevent dismissal during or shortly after pregnancy, having been granted a pioneering character in late 19th century Germany.

Much has been won, but there are still many spaces in which women are not properly respected or do not have the same rights of equality as men.

Neoenergia is awarded by the UN

The School of Electricians of Neoenergia,which maintains exclusive classes for women, has been recognized by the United Nations. A case study on the initiative was published by We Empower, the UN Women's Programme with the International Labour Organisation and the European Union to stimulate good business practices.

The document points to the Brazilian company's project as an example. In all, the School of Electricians exclusively for women has 200 students in Bahia, coelba's concession area, and in Pernambuco, where the group's distributor is Celpe.

The project was created in August 2019, after the company realized that the mixed classes did not have enough women's membership and thus sought to increase their participation. The goal is to stimulate diversity and gender equality and demystify the idea that energy utilities are a predominantly male work environment. When hired, these women have the same salaries and benefits as men.

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