Suffrage movement[ edit ] Berta Lutz in , leading figure of the feminist movement in Brazil Women in Brazil were granted the right to vote in Hence, the campaign for suffrage was by no means a mass movement, and was decidedly moderate in nature. Not only were women granted the equal right to hold government office and earn equal pay for equal work , but also were given preference over men in all government jobs dealing with the home, motherhood, children, and working conditions for women.
The constitution also declared for the first time that urban and rural women and men had the same rights to social security benefits. The law also prohibits employers from requiring applicants or employees to take pregnancy tests or present sterilization certificates, but some employers sought sterilization certificates from female job applicants or tried to avoid hiring women of childbearing age.
Violations of the law are punishable by jail terms for employers of up to two years, while the company may be fined 10 times the salary of its highest-paid employee. The law encompasses sexual advances in the workplace or in educational institutions and between service providers or clients. In the workplace it applies only in hierarchical situations, where the harasser is of higher rank or position than the victim.
Although the legislation exists and was enforced, accusations remained rare, and the extent of the problem was not documented. Under the Civil Code of Brazil, married women could not lawfully acquire or possess their own property until The regimes have been criticized as positioning widows as mere custodians of property for children, rather than legitimate property owners.
The National Confederation of Agricultural Workers CONTAG , which is the largest organization of agricultural workers in Brazil, tackled women's rights for the first time during its fourth congress in , when it decided to extend membership to more women and actively work to end gender discrimination.
Many early female workers found employment in schools, government and commercial offices. The formation of the Union of Professional Women in the s, which embraced university and professional women, played a large role in the suffrage movement.
By , over a million Brazilian women worked outside the home, which led to changing perceptions of women's family roles and a remodeling of the nation's commercial usages. Up until the s, domestic service was the largest category of female employment, with most other women engaged in government bureaucracy, social services, as well as other informal labor. Women's labor rights were not fully addressed until , with the passage of a law declaring that women be paid equally for equal work, which was confirmed in the Constitution.
Women's involvement and leadership among unions have been less successful, as is the case in other Latin American countries.
Fernando Gabeira, founder of the Green Party , recently introduced a piece of legislation to Congress to establish prostitution as a recognized profession, however the bill was defeated in Carmen Lucia Paz, a former prostitute and researcher at NEP, has become one of the most vocal champions of sex worker rights in Brazil.
The literacy rate defined as 15 years of age or older with the ability to read and write was estimated in as Since the s women have had a higher number of years in school, on average, than men when it refers to the lower levels of scholarity.
Since the s, they surpassed men in the higher levels. In , there were approximately 19, women professionals in Brazil, including engineers, architects, dentists, economists, professors, lawyers, and doctors. By , there were about 95, women in these fields.