Category: brazil

Marilena de Souza Chaui (b. 1941) is a philosopher
and a founding member of the Workers’ Party in Brazil. She is also a Professor
of Modern Philosophy at the University of Sao Paulo.

She has served as the Municipal Secretary of Culture of Sao
Paulo, and is known for her severe criticism of capitalist models. Her book, What
is Ideology?,
is today a mandatory textbook in Brazilian public schools.

was a Brazilian human rights activist. An outspoken campaigner against police
brutality, she was eventually murdered by two former police officers.

She was
born in a slum of Rio de Janeiro, began working at 11 and became a single
mother at the age of 19. Yet, she later obtained a degree in social sciences
and a master’s in public administration, becoming a councillor for the city. She
coordinated the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights and Citizenship, and
fought against gender violence and LGBT discrimination.

Marie Durocher (1809-1893) was a Brazilian
physician, specialised in obstetrics. She was the first female doctor in Latin America.

She obtained her
degree from the Medical School of Rio de Janeiro in 1834, after which she
practiced her profession for 60 years. She cared for pregnant women and helped deliver
babies from all social classes, from the poorest to the grandchildren of the
Emperor. In 1871 she became the first female member of the National Academy of

Protests were held across Brazil after a popular Rio city councillor and her driver were shot dead by two men in what appears to have been a targeted assassination.

Marielle Franco, 38, was a groundbreaking politician who had become a voice for disadvantaged people in the teeming favelasthat are home to almost one-quarter of Rio de Janeiro’s population, where grinding poverty, police brutality and shootouts with drug gangs are routine.

Richard Nunes, Rio’s head of public security, said there would be a “full investigation” into the deaths, which came despite the military taking charge of policing in the city last month after a surge in violence.

Bertha Lutz (1894-1976) was a Brazilian naturalist, politician, and a prominent women’s suffrage activist. Educated in natural sciences and zoology at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, she returned to Brazil to earn a law degree, and became a leader of the Pan American feminist movement. 

In 1919 she became the first woman to head the National Musem in Rio de Janeiro, and her position there allowed her to have an influence on politicians and intellectual elites. She also started writing about feminist causes, and founded the League for the Intellectual Emancipation of Woman. In 1922 she affiliated with the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance, for which she worked both nationally and internationally. When Brazil’s government drafted a new constitution in 1934, she campaigned for it to include women’s suffrage, and succeeded to have Brazil the third Latin-American country to grant women the vote. Following this success, in 1936 she became one of the first few women to serve in the Brazilian Congress.