An impeached president, reeling but defiant

    By: Clair Fuller on Apr 15, 2017

    Ernest Londoño  writes, "Nearly a year ago, Brazilian lawmakers voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff from office, setting in motion the dramatic downfall of the country's first female leader. Ms. Rousseff, a former guerilla leader who was tortured during the country's military dictatorship in the 1970s, was formally ousted last September. Her removal marked the end of a 13-year period of rule by the leftist Worker's Party and a seismic shift in the country's political trajector. I interviewed Ms. Rousseff last weekend at the Brazil Conference at Harvard and M.I.T., during which she delivered a defiant speech warning that Brazil's democracy is in peril. Below is a lightly edited excerpt of our conversation.


    After you were ousted, your successor, President Michel Temer, appointed a cabinet entirely composed of white men. What did you make of that?

    White, wealthy old men. It is an eminiently anti-woman government. I am saddened by it, very disheartened. First of all, there was a very misogynist element in the coup against me. They had double standards for men and women. They accused me of being overly tough and hars, while a man would have been considered firm, strong. Or they would say I was too emotional and fragile, when a man would have been considered sensitive. I was seen as someone obsessed with work, while a man would have been considered hard-working. There were also very rude words used. I was called a cow about 600,000 times.

    In a few months, when President Michelle Bachelet of Chile steps down, all the heads of state in the Western hemisphere will be men. What does that say about the empowerment of women in politics?

    That is not a coincidence. In politics women are not treated in the same way as men. Women face disproportionate discrimination. This does not mean that women are weak. On the contrary, women are very resilient and very capable."


    Released: April 15, 2017, 2:43 pm | Updated: April 21, 2017, 2:45 pm
    Keywords: NAWL News

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