Total Complaints by Year









Source: Ouvidoria/SPM – April 2007

It should be noted that the decrease in the number of complaints to the Ombudsperson Office in 2006 was due to the introduction of the Women’s Service Central – Dial 180 . This is a free of charge telephone service to assist women in a situation of violence.

In 2003, when the Ombudsperson Office was established, most assistance was personal (32.56%) and by telephone (20.93%). Most requests of assistance came from the Center-West region (33.72%), followed by the Southeast (17.44%). Assistance was requested mostly through requests (56.98%), followed by denunciations (33.72%). The most relevant issue was the social and judicial claim for access to and guarantee of social rights (32.56%) having to do with proceedings, social security, economic and social vulnerability, followed by violence in general (11.63%) (physical, sexual, etc.) and employment , related to moral harassment, labor legislation, placement on the labor market, among other issues; these two latter issues ranked third in the requests for assistance. Situations of domestic violence (8.14%) and homicide (8.14%) in general placed fourth, followed by legislation (4.65%). Discrimination (3.49%) based on race, color, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, etc. and trafficking in persons (3.49%) ranked sixth, while questions related to health (2.33%) were less frequent.

In 2004, most assistance was provided via e-mail (45.09%) and telephone (21.88%). Most requests for assistance again came from the Center-West region (34.38%) and the Southeast (29.46%). Assistance requests came mostly through requests (39.73%), followed by denunciations (27.23%). The most relevant issue was access to and guarantee of social rights (25%), followed by domestic violence (9.82%), and employment (8.93%), which ranked third and fourth, respectively; and discrimination (8.04%) and violence (8.04%), both of which ranked fifth.

In 2005, most assistance was provided via e-mail (59.07%) and by telephone (18.41%). Most requests for assistance came from the Southeast region (30.49 percent) followed by the Center-West (24.45%). Assistance was asked mostly through requests (39.29%), followed by denunciations (22.25%). Matters related to social rights (17.58%) ranked second; discrimination (11.26%) ranked third; violence (10.44%) ranked fourth; and domestic violence (7.97%) ranked fifth.

In 2006, most assistance was provided via e-mail (60.97%) and telephone (8.83%). Most requests for assistance came from the Southeast (32.76%), followed by the Center-West (19.66%). Assistance was requested mostly through requests (51.85%) and denunciations (16.24%). Social rights (12.54%) ranked second as a relevant issued, followed by violence (10.83%) and employment (9.40%), which ranked third and fourth, respectively; legislation (8.55%) and health (6.84%) ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, while discrimination (5.98%) and domestic violence (5.70%) ranked seventh and eighth.

In all these years, as can be seen from the tables in Annex 3 (annual tables showing demand by region, origin, characteristics, and classification by issue), the “Others” category ranks first. This category encompasses different matters – political persecution, interference in government bodies, requests for publications, clarification of projects, etc.

It is also mentioning the Dial 180 service, which on April 17, 2007 marked the first anniversary of the 24-hour operation, after an implementation period that began on November, 2005. Women can make free calls from any telephone in the country to request information about legal issues and specialized police precincts, health clinics, shelters, etc.

The telephone central operates confidentially and records calls about physical and psychological aggression, sexual violence, sexual and moral harassment, indecent assault, rape, and trafficking in women for the purposes of exploitation.

Statistics show that Pernambuco is the state with the highest number of murdered women. The monthly reports on assistance provided are sent to the women’s coordinating and advisory offices in 15 states and 110 municipalities. In states where no such organisms exist, the document is sent to the State Government, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and security departments.

11. As noted by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (E/CN.4/2006/61), in 2001 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had indicated “the lack of effective action by the State in prosecuting and convicting aggressors.” Please describe what the State party is doing to respond to this assessment, including data on the prosecution and conviction of perpetrators of violence against women.

Since 1998, when the Pluriannual Plan included specific budget for fighting violence against women, effective actions have been carried out to this end. Projects have been approved for the establishment of shelter homes and the training of public agents in gender issues, particularly police chiefs of Specialized Women’s Precincts and public defenders.

Since 2003, with the new Administration and the establishment of the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women, training programs have been expanded, support for shelter homes and reference centers has increased, and the National Plan for Fighting Violence against Women has been introduced, bringing previous initiatives under a single, wider umbrella.

It should be mentioned that the Brazilian State has adopted measures in connection with Recommendation 54/01 and the notification on Case 12051 from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, of April 16, 2001 (Maria da Penha Case), as the Brazilian Government has consistently responded to that inter-American body with actions that are being implemented to close the case in question. One of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’s recommendations called for the enactment of specific legislation to deter violence against women. This was accomplished with the sanctioning of Law 11340 in 2006. Given the progress made in the negotiations involving the petitioners, the victim, the State of Ceará (where the violation occurred) and the Federal Government, it is likely that the parties will sign an agreement by the end of 2007, thereby closing the case.

In association with the Special Secretariat on Human Rights, the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women is following other five cases of violation against Brazilian women currently under the examination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, but no official position has been reached on any of them yet. Be as it may, the Brazilian Government and the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women are making every effort to intensify the actions aimed at deterring violence against women, so as to prevent the bringing of new cases before human rights courts.

In respect of what the State is doing to respond to this issue, i.e., about the implementation of the law, including data on the prosecution and conviction of perpetrators of violence against women, it should be recalled that the Brazilian Federal Constitution establishes the separation of powers. Accordingly, crimes of violation of women’s rights are prosecuted by the states and may eventually reach the Superior Court of Justice, the last instance of the Judiciary.

Further mention should be made of the approval by the National Council of Justice, on March 6, 2007, of Recommendation 9, which suggests that the Courts of Justice should set up courts specializing in cases of domestic and family violence against women. The establishment of specialized courts to assist women who are victims of domestic and family violence is provided for by Law 11340, the Maria da Penha Law . The recommendation also suggests that the courts should include in their databanks statistical data on domestic violence, sponsor multidisciplinary courses on human rights and gender violence to qualify judges, as well as incorporating the Judiciary into the other services of the women’s assistance network.

Lastly, it should be noted that measures are being adopted by the states to compile statistical data on violence against women. Examples of this are the editions of Women’s Dossier , released by Rio de Janeiro ’s Institute of Public Security . This publication contains articles and information on crimes of rape, violent indecent assault, heinous bodily injury, as well as homicides and threats of which women are victims in the state. The first issue of Women’s Dossier publishes data referring to 2004 and 2005, while the second issue publishes data regarding the year 2006.

Political and public life

12. Please provide updated information on the draft bills under debate in the National Congress that modify Law No. 9.504 of 30 September 1997 on quotas (page 42).

Current debate about introducing modifications in Law 9504/1997 is being held in the broader context of the proposed reform of the Brazilian political system. Political reform provides a unique opportunity to make changes in the political processes. In a broader sense, it encompasses the review of the power relations between the State and Society; the political parties’ operational rules; the norms that rule elections and decision-making processes; and includes public budgetary control, radio and television concessions, and the Judiciary’s structure and functioning. It opens the possibility for improving and democratizing the political system and the forms of political participation and representation.

Bill 2679/2003 (annexed to Bill 5268/2001) is the proposed legislation that encompasses the largest number of subjects and that has been approved by the Special Commission on Political Reform set up solely for addressing the matter. It calls for changes in provisions of the Electoral Code, the Political Parties Law, and the Electoral Law.

Changes contemplated include the following: reservation of at least 30% and a maximum of 70% of slots for candidates of each sex on the slates submitted by each political party or coalition; observation of the gender quota on the list pre-ordained (closed) by a party or federation so as to ensure sex alternation in at least one slot for each sex in every three slots, or a 50-50 percent alternation; allotment of at least 20% or 30% of the free party radio and television advertising time to promoting and publicizing women’s political participation; and allocation of at least 30% of the minimum 20% [of resources] channeled to party foundations or institutes for party sectors devoted to encouraging and fueling the growth of women’s participation (equivalent to 6% of the parties’ fund).

The reform provides a major opportunity to promote the deepening of democracy and the political inclusion of underrepresented sectors. It was for the purpose of deepening this debate that women’s political participation has been chosen as one of the major issues to be examined during the Second National Conference on Policies for Women, scheduled for August 2007.

Women in Positions of Power in Brazil - 2007
















Chamber of Deputies






State Assemblies






City Council






Women in Positions of Power in Brazil – 2007










President of the Republic






State and Federal District Government






Municipal Government






13. How many women candidates have attended the workshops on capacity building actions for women candidates developed by the Special Secretariat on Policies for Women (SPM) (page 42), and what was the impact of these workshops in relation to an increase in women’s political participation?

We have no information on how many women candidates attended the capacity building workshops sponsored by the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women. The Secretariat does not itself hold capacity building activities but funds them. As for the impact of these workshops, we believe that as yet they have been modest.

The Special Secretariat for Policies for Women and the National Council on Women’s Policies believe that a deeper, ongoing debate about this issue is needed, which has led them to adopt it as one of the main lineaments of the Second National Conference on Policies for Women.

14. According to the report (page 47), there has in recent years been “a slight fall in the number of women who enter into a diplomatic career,” and further that “the majority of women diplomats only reach the intermediate level of the career.” Please inform whether any measures have been taken to increase women’s balanced participation in the Foreign Service, including at the highest levels.

To this moment, the Brazilian Government has adopted no specific measure to increase the number of women in the diplomatic career. It should be recalled, though, that the information contained on page 47 of the Sixth Periodic Report submitted by Brazil in April 2005, according to which “(...) there has been in recent years a slight fall in the number of women who enter the diplomatic career” is somewhat imprecise. The proportionate fall in the number of women occurred in a specific public admission exam – that of 2003 – but the percentage of women entering the diplomatic career has remained stable since the 1980s, varying from year to year but turning around 20%. In December 2006, women accounted for 19.99% of the total number of Brazilian diplomats.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the maintenance of this percentage over the last 30 years is a problem. The percentage of women in the total number of college graduates has dramatically risen in this period and has even surpassed the percentage of men in 2000. This phenomenon should have been reflected in the number of women in diplomacy, as was the case in other careers, but this has not occurred yet.

With respect to female diplomats rising in the ranks, one should call attention to the significant number of women as First Class Ministers (the career’s highest rank) in the last four years. In 2003, as stated in the report, women accounted for only 6.1 percent of the total number of First Class Ministers. By March 2007, this figure had risen to 8.7 percent; although still low, it shows a significant increase in the last three years. In this regard, attention should be called to the appointment of Ambassador Maria Luisa Viotti as Head of the Brazilian Permanent Delegation to the United Nations.

15. The report (pages 42-43) shows that, “in the highest-level positions [of tribunals], for which persons are appointed, women’s presence is still significantly restricted”. What are the causes for this situation and how does the State party intend to address those? In particular, what measures are being implemented to ensure that women are appointed to these positions on equal terms with men?

The fact that the filling of high level positions in the Judiciary works by appointment is one of the major obstacles to a higher number of women in these positions, as a male dominated tradition still prevails. Some initiatives have been adopted but have been insufficient to defeat the resistance on the part of the very Judiciary, as shown by the attempt to set women’s quotas. Women’s access to such high-level positions has thus been very slow.

Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that Federal Supreme Court’s Presiding Justice today is Minister Ellen Gracie, and that recently the President of the Republic appointed Justice Maria Elizabeth Guimarães as the first woman on the Superior Military Court .

Number of Judges










Federal Supreme Court






Supreme Court of Justice






Superior Labor Court






Superior Electoral Court






Superior Military Court






A significant initiative recently adopted by the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women and the National Council on Women’s Policies was the inclusion of women’s participation in power positions as one of the key themes of the Second National Conference on Policies for Women.


16. Considering the assessment (page 50) that “[t]he male dominated culture guides men and women into specific careers”, what measures does the Government take or envisage to correct this trend and promote diversification of academic and professional options?

As regards the Ministry of Education’s responsibility, the National Plan for Women’s Policies (2004) includes as one of its objectives the incorporation of guidelines on gender, race, and ethnic origin into Vocational and Technological Education (action 2.1.14). In 2006, this was defined by the Ministry of Education as a priority, precisely in view of the gap in this area.

To implement this initiative – speaking solely from a gender perspective (as the ethnic-racial component has already been contemplated by national guidelines under Law 10639/2004) –, awareness-raising actions have been initiated in 2006 by the National Committee on Monitoring and Coordinating the National Plan for Women’s Policies and the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women. These actions are targeted at managers in charge of the Ministry of Education’s Vocational and Technological Education Secretariat, to make them aware of the importance of adopting gender-related measures.

One specific event in this connection was a lecture on gender and its relation to the training of women and men, delivered to vocational and technological administrators and teachers at the National Conference on Vocational and Technological Education, held in Brasília, from 5 to 8 November, 2006. One of the event’s objectives was to reflect on national guidelines for Vocational and Technological Education, by encouraging dialogue involving the various agents concerned.

So far, though, the Ministry of Education has issued no guidelines or announced any measures pertaining to the curricula and practices of secondary, technical and vocational establishments or of higher education institutions, aimed at reducing gender segregation in various professional and academic careers. It is important to mention that states, municipalities, schools, and universities have curriculum autonomy, subject to the norms and general guidelines established by the Ministry of Education and the National Educational Council, pursuant to the Law on National Education Guidelines and Fundaments (Law 9394/1996).

To address this problem, the Ministry of Education, in association with the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women, has adopted a series of initiatives, including the “Gender and Diversity at School” and the “Women and Science” Programs.

The “Gender and Diversity at School” Program aims at the qualification of public school system’s educators who teach from the 5 th through the 8 th grade of fundamental education, in respect of gender, sexuality, and ethnic and racial equality issues. The 200-hour course was implemented on a pilot-basis in the municipalities of Porto Velho, RO; Salvador, BA; Dourados, MS; Maringá, PR; Nova Iguaçu, RJ, and Niterói, RJ and was attended by 1,2000 teachers from the public educational system.

The wide acceptance of the program and the knowledge acquired by the educational professionals as well as the innovative methodology used had countrywide repercussion, with several states wishing to implement the project in their region. The program also drew the interest on then part of Egypt , England , Scotland , Ireland , and Chile , where the project has been presented.

Currently, the course on “Gender and Diversity at School” is being integrated in the Open University program (an innovative project of the Ministry of Education, which establishes of hubs of support to higher education with the aim to democratize education). Moreover, the project will also be implemented in several states, in partnership with the government and universities of each region.

The main objective of the program is to provide elements to transform teaching practices and to eliminate prejudices and break their reproduction cycle at school. By taking this course, professionals will have, on their daily routine, tools to reflect on and deal with attitudes and behaviors involving gender, ethnic and racial relations, and sexuality.

The “Women and Science” Program was designed by the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women in association with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Council on Scientific and Technological Development, and UNIFEM. Its purpose is to highlight the importance of research and encourage the acquisition and dissemination of new knowledge in the fields of gender relations, women and feminism studies.

The Program’s first edition, in 2005, included a National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CNPq) Act to No. 45/2006 which granted for R$1.2 million in support to research in the field of gender, women, and feminism studies; established a First Prize for an essays contest for secondary students and of scientific articles by graduate and post-graduate students on the theme “Building Gender Equality;” and held a National Encounter of Research Centers and Groups on “Thinking Gender and Science.”

The second edition of the “Building Gender Equality” Prize took place in 2006. In 2007, the third edition of the “Women and Science” Program will award the 3 rd “Building Gender Equality” Prize; and CNPq will organize the second public contest for support for research in the fields of gender, women, and feminism studies.

The Ministry of Labor and Employment is also implementing initiatives and provided strategic support to policies that promote diversity and the elimination of all forms of discrimination. These policies are implemented under various programs by the Public System of Labor, Employment and Income, Solidarity Economy, Labor Relations, oversight of compliance with norms pertaining to workers’ protection, and expansion and improvement of the network for combating discrimination at the workplace, along the lines of the Brazil , Gender, and Race Program.

This Program, in paralell to the fight against other types of discrimination at the workplace, incorporates gender and race issues into its priority actions, as illustrated by institutional landmarks consisting of the National Conferences held by the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women-SPM in 2004, the Special Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality (SEPPIR) in 2005, and the National Human Rights Conference held by the Special Secretariat for Human Rights in 2004.

The objective is to comply with the constitutional norms that reflect the commitments undertaken by Brazil on the international field, especially ILO’s Convention No. 100, ratified in 1957; ILO’s Convention No. 111, ratified in 1968; and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified in 1984.

The Program is being implemented in all 27 states of the Federation, as well as in the Regional Main and Secondary Labor Offices, by Centers for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities and Combating Discrimination, established by Administrative Order MTE No. 604 of June 1, 2000.

It is also worth mentioning the Tripartite Commission on Equal Opportunity and Gender and Race Treatment at the Workplace, set up at the Ministry of Labor and Employment by Decree of August 20, 2004, with the following objectives: to discuss and submit proposals for public policies on equal opportunity and treatment as well as on combating all forms of discrimination based on gender and race at the workplace; to foster the incorporation of gender and racial issues into the programs, execution, supervision, and evaluation of activities carried out by the Ministry of Labor and Employment; to encourage and support parliamentarian initiatives on the issue; and to support and encourage initiatives adopted by bodies and entities, including those of civil society, as well as promoting the publicizing of the pertinent legislation.

17. The report (page 23) indicates that the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Affirmative Action Policies “drafted Bill 3,627/04, currently under examination by the House of Representatives, which established the Special System of Vacancies in federal public institutions in higher level education for students graduating from public schools, particularly blacks and indigenous people.” Please provide updated information on this draft legislation and whether it has already been adopted. Does the legislation envisage specific quotas for women, and what is the expected impact of this legislation?

The Bill 3627/04, elaborated on the basis of suggestions from civil society to the members of the Commission on Education and Culture and submitted to the National Congress on 20 May, 2004, is now pending decision by the Chamber of Deputies after having been unanimously approved by its Commission on Education, Human Rights, and Minorities and by the Commission on Justice. Debate about the bill has urged Brazilian society to reflect about racism and racial discrimination. Strong resistance has slowed down the proceedings.

This Bill, which does not envisage quotas for women, determines that 50 percent of vacancies to be filled by public exams for admission in public higher education institutions be reserved for students who have completed secondary education in public schools. A minimum share of these vacancies are to be filled by self-declared Blacks and Indigenous students, consistent with the percentage of Blacks, African-descendants ( mulattos ), and Indigenous peoples in the population of the state where the concerned institution is located. It is worth recalling that women already account for the majority of those entering and graduating from university in Brazil .

Accordingly, the impact expected from this legislation is a reduction in the inequality of access to higher education by reason of income inequality (In Brazil, those attending public secondary schools come from the poorer population layers) and discrimination based on ethnic origin and race. Figures obtained by the Ministry of Economic show that Blacks (Blacks and mulattos), who represent 46.9% of the country’s population but correspond to only 24.1% of those enrolled in college (“ Cor e Raça da Educação Superior Brasileira.” Brasil, INEP, 2005).

18. The report (page 54) notes that “[t]he educational exclusion of older and poor women is still significant and deserves the formulation of specific policies. For example, the proportion of illiterate women progressively increases for women over 40 years of age.” The report (page 55) also notes that “[b]lack and indigenous women (and men) are under represented [in the Brazilian education system]”. Please describe whether the Government has adopted specific policies to increase the literacy and improve the education of older and poor women, including black and indigenous women. Please also indicate any results achieved in the implementation of such policies.

The Ministry of Education, through the Program Literate Brazil , has not adopted any specific measures to increase the literacy and improve the education of older and poor women, although a large number of those enrolled under the program are female.

Black and indigenous women, regardless of their age group, are indirectly assisted by educational improvement policies targeted to the following groups/ territories: indigenous populations / expansion of access to education in indigenous lands; Quilombola populations and expansion of access to education in Quilombo remaining lands, occupied mainly by slave descendants.


19. How many women have benefited from the Program to Encourage Economic Autonomy for Women in the Work World and the Program to Combat Poverty mentioned in the report (page 61), and what are the results of these programs in terms of prevention of women’s poverty?

The objective of the Program to Encourage Economic Autonomy for Women in the Work World is to support initiatives to empower women and build capacity with a view to promoting equal opportunities in the work world, as well as to encouraging the implementation of projects targeted to the economic autonomy of women, so as to establish benchmarks for government action in the areas of employment, labor, and income such as incubators, cooperatives, and associations.

In 2004, 23 projects were supported, which allowed for the training of 6,600 women countrywide. In 2005, another 23 projects were supported and over 2,000 women received training in eight states. In 2006, the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women supported 39 projects, which directly benefited 2,170 women in 14 states. Over the past three years, the program to foster the empowerment of women in the labor market directly benefited 10,170 women.

With regard to the Family Grant program, statistics from the Unified Register of the National Income and Citizenship Secretariat, Ministry for Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, show that 11.1 million families living in all country’s municipalities benefit from the program. It strikes the attention that 95 percent of the benefits are paid out to women. Annex 4 contains general information on the Program.

The program’s impact on women’s life is starting to be assessed. This has been done through a survey on the Family Grant [ Bolsa Família ] Program entitled “Fight against Gender Inequalities”, undertaken by Ações em Gênero e Cidadania (an NGO), submitted to the Ministry for Social Development and the British Department for International Development –DFID. This survey collected information on the field in 10 municipalities between March and June, 2006.

One of the survey’s findings is that the authority and the general status of the beneficiary in the home have been enhanced, as the income they receive place them at an advantage situation vis-à-vis the other family members, whose jobs and wages are uncertain. It should be recalled that paragraph 14 of Law 10863, which established the Family Grant [ Bolsa Família ] Program, provides that benefits be paid preferentially to women, according to the regulations.

The survey also identified three clear types of the impact of the Program on the life of beneficiary women. The first consists in their visibility as consumers. The fact that they are holders of a card and receive a fixed monthly income is noted by government officials and beneficiaries as a major gain, as their purchasing power has been thereby increased.

The second impact identified on the field is the affirmation of these women’s authority in the domestic domain. There are strong indications that the purchasing power granted by the Family Grant is producing changes in the family hierarchy, as seen in the women’s possibility to make choices and, particularly, to negotiate their authority at home.

The third impact is related to women’s perception that they form part of the Brazilian citizenry. As they were obliged to obtain certain documents, such as birth certificates and ID cards to register and apply for the Family Grant, many of them, particularly those in rural areas, realized that they somehow belong to a broad social fabric that transcends their neighborhood or district.

20. According to the report (page 64), legislation related to domestic work “will be revised in order to extend all labor rights to domestic servants”. Please provide further information about this revision, whether it has entered into force and its impact on promoting and protecting women’s labor rights.

To encourage the formalization of domestic labor, the Federal Government issued Provisional Measure 284 in March 2006, which was enacted in August 2006 into Law 11324. This law allows the taxpayer that hires a domestic servant to deduct from his tax returns an amount of 12% paid monthly into Social Security as the employer’s contribution. There are currently 6.5 million domestic maids in the country, 4.8 million of them are part of the informal labor market.

The new legislation (jointly crafted by the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women, the Ministry of Social Security, the Ministry of Labor and Employment, and the Special Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality) determines that the employer may take an income tax deduction on one minimum salary of just one domestic servant, beginning with the 2006 returns.

To enlighten the population, the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women launched a national radio campaign in March 2006 about the Federal Government’s incentive for the incorporation of domestic maids into the formal labor market and their valorization. From 27 March through 10 April, 2006, 79 AM/FM most popular radio stations aired two 30-second radio spots targeted at domestic maids and their employers, showing the benefits of the measure and the importance of holding a worker’s signed booklet.

Law 11324 has also ensured new gains for domestic servants as a result of intense debate between the Executive and the National Congress and with domestic servants’ associations and unions. With the new law, domestic servants acquired the right to 30 days of annual rest, remunerated weekly rest on Sundays and holidays, and stability of her jobs from the confirmation of their pregnancy up to five months after delivery. The employer can no longer deduct from the servant’s salary expenditures on food, housing, and hygiene items.

As a complement to the new law, the Executive sent to the National Congress Bill 7363/2006, rephrasing Art. 3-A of Law 5859 of December 1972, which regulates the profession of domestic servant, and determines the inclusion of domestic servants in the Time-Served Guarantee Fund (FGTS). The bill is under consideration by the Lower Chamber of the Parliament and has already been approved by the Commission on Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship-CCCJ.

Finally, on March 2007, the Commission on Labor, Administration, and Civil Service approved a Senate alternative to Bill 1652/03, sponsored by Congressman Luiz Alberto (PT-BA), which abolishes the requirement to provide a good behavior certificate of the domestic servant. This bill changes the law that regulates the domestic servant profession (Law 5859/72).

The alternative bill adds the requirement that the domestic servant produce a Social Security registration number. Another innovation is the fact that the employer will have ten days to make the notation on the employee’s worker’s booklet. Should he fail to meet this obligation, he will be subject to the penalties set forth in the Consolidated Labor Laws. The bill is yet to be reviewed by the Commission on Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship and submitted to vote.

21. Please provide statistical data on women’s participation in the formal and informal labor market, disaggregated by sectors, and by urban and rural areas, as compared to men, and show trends over time. Please also provide information about women’s wages, as compared to those of men, in different sectors.

Annex 5 contains the information requested, taken from the Carlos Chagas Foundation’s Databank on Women’s Work ( ). This data bank on women’s work in Brazil contains historical series from 1979 on, obtained through surveys by government agencies – such as those done by the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (IBGE), Demographic Censuses, and National Household Sample Surveys (PNADs); by the Ministry of Labor – such as the Annual List of Social Data/RAIS; by the Ministry of Education and Culture, through the Anísio Teixeira National Institute for Educational Studies and Research (INEP), Higher Education Censuses, and the School Census.


22. The Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (E/CN.4/2005/72) stated that despite the Government of Brazil’s far reaching efforts in the area of health “it is estimated that up to 90 per cent of rural Brazilian women do not go for prenatal care and/or take advantage of free services because they have no way of getting to clinics located in urban areas.” What measures are being implemented to address this situation? Does the Government intend to establish mobile clinics to reach rural areas which lack health facilities?

Since 1950 Brazil has experienced an accelerated urbanization process, which was confirmed by the 2000 Demographic Census. The addition of 26.8 million urban residents increased the degree of urbanization, from 75.59 percent in 1991 to 81.23 percent in 2000. This increase was basically due to three factors: the vegetative growth in urban areas, migration toward urban centers, and the incorporation of areas that were previously classified as rural areas. In the world context, Brazil shows a degree of urbanization similar to the European, North American, and Japanese, with rates above 75%. Regions such as Asia and Africa remain less urbanized (less than 40%).

In Brazil , 96% of deliveries take place in hospitals and 83.64% of expectant mothers benefit from prenatal checkup four or more times, as shown by the tables below, which contradict the information that “up to 90 percent of rural Brazilian women do not benefit from prenatal care.” Currently, the Brazilian Government, through the Ministry of Health, has no plan to establish mobile clinics to reach rural areas.

Total births by place of occurrence – 2004



Other Health Establishment



















Source: MS/SVS/DASIS – Live births information system – SINASC

Births by the mother’s home per year according to prenatal checkups















1 to 3 checkups







4 to 6 checkups








7 or more checkups







Source: MS/SVS/DASIS – Live Births Information System-SINASC

The Ministry of Health has invested in basic care under the Family Health Strategy as a way to provide care to the population as close as possible to their home. Among the families receiving this care from health teams, 24.21% are rural families, as shown in the table below:

Families receiving care by family health teams per residence zone





































Source: Ministry of Health, Basic Care Information System-SIAB

As part of the National Policy on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, the Ministry of Health has supported the National Agricultural Workers’ Confederation (CONTAG) in training multipliers on gender, health, and sexual and reproductive rights. The project envisages the incorporation of methodologies aimed at an across-the-board approach to gender, sexual and reproductive rights, generation, race, and ethnic origin and to territoriality in the policies of the Rural Workers Union’s Movement and in the Rural Population’s Health Policy. The implementation of the project, under the responsibility of CONTAG, began in early April 2005 and has a three year duration.

It should also be noted that on March 8, 2004, to mark the celebration of the International Women’s Day, President Lula unveiled a National Covenant for the Reduction of Maternal Mortality. The Covenant is considered a model of social mobilization and dialogue for the promotion of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, as it integrates the three levels of government – federal, state, and municipal – and a wide range of organizations of civil society. Under the Covenant, the Ministry of Health has undertaken to provide resources totaling R$31.17 million for intensifying capacity building initiatives for the provision of care to women and infants. So far, 71 municipalities have submitted projects for reducing maternal and neonatal mortality.

Moreover, 26 state seminars were held (only the state of São Paulo abstained) to draft plans of action, as well as four meetings of the National Commission on the Monitoring and Assessment of the Implementation of the National Covenant, consisting of 34 representatives civil society and government.

23. The Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography (E/CN.4/2004/9/Add.2) expressed concern about the situation of abortion indicating that “only 44 centers in the whole country provide abortion” and that “[t]his forces many women to undergo abortion in secrecy, putting their lives at risk. This is a denial of the right to health of women.” Please provide data, if available, on the number of maternal deaths resulting from unsafe abortion and on measures envisaged to address this problem, taking into consideration that abortion is allowed under Article 128, sections I and II of the Brazilian Penal Code?

Illegal practice of abortion in Brazil precludes the existence of reliable statistics to support more precise and specific public policies targeting the different regional realities and age groups in which unwanted pregnancies are more prevalent. In 2006, 2,067 legal abortions were performed, in conformity with Art. 128 of the Brazilian Penal Code, which addresses the risk of life to women and pregnancies resulting from rape.

In the period from 2004 to 2006, the Unified Health System registered 243.988 (2004), 241.019 (2005) and 222.135 (2006) women who were submitted to curettage post-abortion. Such practice is the second most common obstetric procedure in hospitals and clinics, behind only of normal childbirth (eutocia). Financially, it represents approximately R$ 35 million annually. The death rates due to abortion is more frequent among African-descendant women.

Maternal mortality is a consistent indicator for evaluating the population’s health conditions and reflects existing perversities. The death of women in fertile age as a result of pregnancy, abortion, childbirth, and puerperal infection is to a great extent avoidable. A high Rate of Maternal Mortality (RMM) indicates precarious socioeconomic conditions, low level of information and schooling, family dynamics associated with domestic violence, and particularly difficult access to quality health services.

The stabilization of the maternal mortality rate as of 2000 may be associated to better quality of obstetric care and to family planning. However, figures for Brazil – 74.5 deaths per 100,000 live births (taking into consideration a 1.4 correction factor) show that the situation is still unacceptable, as the maternal mortality rate in developed countries oscillates between 6 and 20 deaths per 100,000 live births (Source: Saúde Brasília 1005 – Uma análise de situação de saúde – Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde/MS, Brasil).

Between 2002 and 2004 115, 152, and 156 deaths from abortion per year occurred, which makes abortion the fourth cause of maternal death in Brazil . In late 2002, there were 82 hospital unities equipped to provide care for women who were rape victims. They were concentrated in the capitals and metropolitan areas of the South and the Southeast; 42 of those unities performed abortions permitted by law. In 2003, a target was set for increasing by 30 percent the number of services to provide care to women in situations of violence. To this end, the Ministry of Health invested R$1.552 million between 2004 and 2005 on the establishment of 41 new Integral Care Networks for Women and Adolescents in a Situation of Domestic and Sexual Violence in municipalities with the worst violence indicators. Today 142 services are in operation, encompassing all the country’s regions. Brazil has thus surpassed the established target, as the number of services has risen by 48%.

To reduce maternal mortality, the Ministry of Health has implemented actions for obstetric care qualification, family planning, and care provision for women in a situation of violence. In the course of the present administration, the Ministry has revised the Manual on Prevention and Treatment of Damages Resulting from Violence against Women and Adolescents and prepared manuals on Emergency Contraception and on Legal Aspects of Care to Victims of Sexual Violence.

In association with the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women and the Ministry of Justice’s National Public Security Secretariat, the Ministry of Health has designed a Pedagogical Matrix for the Establishment of Networks, which consists of a set of information that turn around theoretical instruments and technical improvement, and the profile and professional vocation for providing integral care to women and adolescents in a situation of domestic and sexual violence. It has also drafted a Technical Standard on Humanized Care in Miscarriage, as well as sensitizing 1787 health professionals of the country’s major maternities.

This year, the Ministry of Health has funded research to draw the profile of care provided to women in a situation of violence so as to gather inputs for the formulation of strategies to enhance the implementation of these networks.

Another strategy developed with a view to establishing Integral Care Networks for Women and Adolescents in a Situation of Domestic and Sexual Violence was the promotion of Macro-Region Seminars, whose purpose is to identify the progress made and the difficulties faced by administrators and reference health services that provide care in case of domestic violence and complications resulting from sexual violence. This initiative envisaged the coordination of administrators at the three levels of government and Reference Hospital for Integral Care of Women and Adolescents in a Situation of Sexual Violence, to ensure the provision of care, processing, and the dispensing of antiretroviral drugs, vaccines, emergency contraceptives, as well as the procedures provided for in the legislation. The Ministry of Health, as an innovative initiative, has regulated the Compulsory Notification of cases of violence.

To improve the quality of prenatal care, the Program for the Humanization of Delivery and Childbirth (PHPN) has been reinforced. Between 2003 and 2005, the adhesion of 1,123 municipalities to the program brought the total up to 5,105 municipalities. In 2002, 485,023 pregnant women were registered and 26,346 of them concluded all procedures. In 2005, the number of registered pregnant women rose to 1,999,176 and 310,716 completed all procedures.

To change the standards of delivery care, the Ministry of Health held two national seminars and 29 state seminars on Humanized Obstetric and Neonatal Care Based on Scientific Evidence. These seminars were attended by 1,787 professionals, including directors, heads of Obstetrics and Neonatology departments and of Obstetric Nursing of the 439 major maternities from all Brazilian states.

During the Government’s first term, the Ministry of Health increased the amounts paid out by the Unified Health Service for normal childbirth (from R$205 in 2002 to R$ 291.15 in 2004), for caesarian section (from R$337 in 2002 to R$402.83 in 2004), and for mammography (from R$30.12 in 2002 5o R$36.10 in 2004).

The Government has also regulated the Companion Law, which establishes a R$6 daily remuneration for a companion and sets a deadline of six months for the hospitals to adapt to the law so as to comply with this measure to humanize the provision of care.

The Ministry of Health has supported the training of 370 Community Doulas, formed by women from the community who accompany parturients and perform support activities during labor in 13 states. It has also provided technical and financial support to schools of nursing in all the states for offering 34 obstetrics specialization courses.

To enhance the quality of care provided to childbirth at home, the Ministry of Health also provided technical and financial support for the training of 85 multiplier health professionals to work as instructors, and 904 traditional midwives in the states of Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Pará, Maranão, Alagoas, Paraíba, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Mato Grosso (Xavante Indigenous Health District). It also held three training programs to prepare facilitator midwives for the prevention of STD/HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis as well as preparing health professionals and traditional midwives to deal with sexual and reproductive health in Upper Juruá, in the state of Acre, and in Mamirauá and Amaná, in the state of Amazonas.

The Ministry of Health also launched a National Campaign to Encourage Natural Childbirth and Reduce Unnecessary Caesarean Sections. This campaign had the innovative feature of involving the private sector, which accounts for the largest number of caesarean sections, through the National Supplementary Health Agency.

In 2006, the Ministry of Health published a study on the mortality of women between ages 10 and 49, with emphasis on maternal mortality. The study, which was coordinated by the distinguished Professor Ruy Laurenti and his collaborators, was of utmost importance for the definition of strategies and actions under the National Policy on Integral Care to Women’s Health. The Ministry also provided financial support for the undertaking of 38 studies on Maternal and Neonatal Mortality. It increased the provision of reversible contraceptive methods to meet the needs of 5,235 municipalities, involving an investment of R$ 27 million. In 2002, R$ 7.8 million had been spent.

Between 2003 and 2005, the Ministry of Health accredited 418 new services for Fallopian tubes blocking, bringing the total of accredited services up to 686, and thereby surpassing the 50 percent target, which would have been 129 services.

24. The Special Rapporteur on the right to education (E/CN.4/2005/50) noted that in Brazil there are between 50 and 100 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19. Please provide information on measures taken by the Government to prevent unwanted pregnancy among adolescents, and the impact of such measures over time.

All the measures taken to encourage the organization of reproductive planning at the services contemplate the specificities of adolescents. In addition to these measures, in August 2003 a Health and Prevention Program in Schools was introduced. This program was jointly prepared by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and aims at reducing adolescents’ vulnerability to sexually transmissible diseases, HIV infection, and unwanted pregnancy, with emphasis on health promotion through educational prevention actions and wider access to male contraceptives.

The program intends to reinforce capacity building and ongoing training of fundamental and secondary school teachers in activities to prevent STD/HIV/AIDS and precocious pregnancy, including the dispensing of 52mm male contraceptives to sexually active adolescents aged 15-19 enrolled in regular public schools. In 2004, the program underwent adaptations and adjustments and was reoriented toward young people aged 13-24 in fundamental and secondary school. It should be mentioned that since 2000 the number of pregnant teenagers has declined.

Rural women

25. According to the report (page 83), “in the National Plan on Policies for Women (PNPM) p.44, the Federal Government declared the goal to grant 400,000 joint titles to land, in the case of lots owned by couples, to all of the families benefited by agrarian reform between 2004 and 2007.” How many joint titles to land have been granted to date?

The table below show data on the National Plan on Policies for Women regarding the concession of land titles cases of lots owned by couples, to the families benefited from agrarian reform between 2004 and 2007:

Settled title owners by sex, 2003-2006



















Source: Ministry of Agrarian Reform.

It is important to stress that 95% of the targeted settlement of 400,000 families under the National Agrarian Reform Program (PNRA) by 2007 have been achieved, as 385,000 families have already been benefited. The issuing of land titles comes at a later period, subsequent to the reference period, as settlements have first to go through the laying down of infrastructure and production support before ownership title or use concession deeds can be granted.

It is also important to point out that new measures have been taken to expand and qualify women’s access to the PNRA. Upon Normative Instruction No. 38, the Settlement and Agrarian Reform Institute intended to expand the right of women to access the National Agrarian Reform Program through the following mea s ures:

Change in the procedures and instruments for: registration of applicants; implementation of agrarian reform projects; Record of Families in areas of land regularization and granting of title deeds; and rural property register certificate, so as to obligatorily include both women and men, regardless of their civil;

Obligatory declaration or proof of civil status. An applicant family that omits or makes false declaration on civil status will be denied participation in the National Agrarian Reform Program;

Inclusion of a new complementary criterion, ascribing preference to families headed by women in the classification of families to benefit from agrarian reform;

Introduction of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Woman Certificate to facilitate the claiming of her rights before government agencies; and

Support to women in rural development activities, so as to promote their economic integration through public policies, ensuring their participation in the settlement’s decision-making, and including the definition of the rural home architecture and a modality of Credit for Settlement Women.

26. The report (page 82) notes that “data from research undertaken by the Santa Catarina Agricultural Women Movement MMA/SC (2002) about the various forms of violence suffered by rural women show that 10 out of every 100 women suffer aggression from their husband.” Please provide information on measures taken to prevent and eliminate violence against rural women.

So far no specific measure has been taken to prevent and eliminate violence against rural women. Actions in this connection come under the overall measures to deter violence against women, such as the Maria da Penha Law. It should be noted that the issue of violence against women is also addressed in various seminars and campaigns waged by rural working women.

27. The report (page 80) notes the great inequality in income that exists between white and black rural women, with black rural women receiving 56 per cent of what white rural working women receive. What measures are being implemented to address the discrimination in income faced by black rural women, and what is the impact of such measures, over time?

With respect to measures adopted to reverse the inequality in income of rural black women, the Ministry of Agrarian Reform has implemented a specific initiative under the Project on the Ethno-Development of Quilombola Women, in partnership with DFID and UNIFEM. These are actions aimed at the adequacy of programs, affirmative actions, the allocation of available resources, in addition to the formulation of public policies, with emphasis on technical assistance and rural extension, development, and marketing.

The 21 communities under the project in 14 states (Amapá, Pará, Alagoas, Maranhão, Pernambuco, Piauí, Sergipe, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Espírito Santo, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina), have been selected for having women’s organizations that are beneficiaries of land regularization by the MDA/INCRA and that have been beneficiaries of the Zero Hunger Program for Quilombola communities.

Under this project, the following activities have taken place: one workshop to orient and train Quilombola women to submit projects; two national conferences on Quilombola Women: Gender and Public Policies on Ethno-Development (March and June 2005); and eight technical visits to communities that are part of the project (August-October 2005), with the aim to assessing their situation, training and planning of actions to provide technical assistance and the marketing of products by Quilombola women.

To foster social participation and control by Quilombola populations, a Standing Committee on Gender, Race, and Ethnic Origin (PPIGRE/MDA) has been set up at the National Council on Sustainable Rural Development-CONDRAF. The Committee is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Agrarian Development, other government bodies, and entities of organized civil society. On the basis of specific demands from these populations, it seeks to orient the MDA on the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies.

In 2004 and 2005, five projects submitted by productive groups of Quilombola women from different parts of the country received support. These initiatives constitute an effort to establish a production and marketing network with a view to ensuring food security, the management of traditional lands, and the autonomy of the Quilombola women. The projects were granted R$617,722.50, of which R$209,744 were transferred in 2004 and R$307.798.50 in 2005.

The actions implemented under the above-mentioned projects include the following: promotion of greater inclusion of women in the local economy, by widening work opportunities; consolidation of agro-extractive activities, encouragement of cooperatives and the development of agroindustry, the raising of small animals and pisciculture, based on different local practices of the Quilombola communities; strengthening of youth participation; promotion of the sustainable development of beneficiary communities by including them in local ecotourism through the establishment of activities related to this sector; identification of work and income generation opportunities, based on the sustainable management of the natural resources of the Quilombola communities; and training and capacity building in the areas of agroecology and food security.

In 2004, by initiative of the Ministry of Agrarian Development, a First National Family Farming and Agrarian Reform Fair was held in Brasília, DF. At that time a survey of productive activities of Quilombola communities was undertaken, with emphasis on handcrafted products. Ten communities participated in the Fair. At the Second National Family Farming and Agrarian Reform Fair (MDA/2995), 19 Quilombola communities from nine states participated.

Such initiatives allowed a rich exchange, not only among Quilombola but among the other participants. In addition, the initiative approximated the public to the various policies implemented by the Federal Government. To ensure women’s participation in these events, R$142,100 were invested.

In response to women’s demand for documentation, in 2004 the Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA), in association with the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women, established a National Rural Working Women’s Documentation Program. This program is currently implemented in association with the National Settlement and Agrarian Reform Institute (INCRA) and the MDA Federal Offices throughout the country. The purpose of the program is to issue, free of charge, documents such as ID cards, CPF (taxpayer ID number), Worker’s Booklet, birth certificates, and proof of registration to Social Security.

In 2004, priority was attached to targeted populations included of in the MDA/INCRA policies, in a centralized manner. Actions were focused on each region of the country, on needier states, and within the states, on areas with greater concentration of rural settlements. In this first phase, priority was given to states with greater demand and territories under MDA/INCRA intervention. 64,804 documents were issued in 23 states (with the exclusion of Acre, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro , and Rio Grande do Norte).

In 2005, the National Rural Working Women’s Documentation Program included the Quilombola communities. In 2005, 64 communities in nine sates benefited from the issuing of approximately 13,825 documents to Quilombola women.

Marriage and family relations

28. As noted in the report (page 88), some discriminatory provisions still exist in the Civil Code in the area of marriage and family relations, including “one that deals with the legal age for marriage, that establishes different ages for men and women; one that allows only married women the possibility of refusing protection; and one that places restrictions on marriage for women.” Noting the government’s acknowledgment of the need to revoke these provisions, please provide updated information on developments towards elimination of these discriminatory provisions in the Civil Code.

We believe that the previous reply was inaccurate, as the chapter of Civil Code, which entered into force in 2003, on the Capacity for Marriage – more specifically its Art. 1517 – states that “Men and women aged 16 may marry, subject to authorization from the parents or their legal representatives, before they reach age majority.”

In this connection, it is worth pointing out a recent advance achieved by the sanctioning of Law 11441, of 4 January, 2007, which modifies the provisions of Law 5869 of January 1973 (Civil Procedure Code), allowing the taking of inventory, partition, consensual separation and divorce through administrative procedures.

Optional Protocol

29. Please describe Governmental measures planned or envisaged to publicize the Optional Protocol and encourage its use.

In general, the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women has been aware to the importance of incorporating in its training programs the agreements and international treaties signed by Brazil on women’s rights, such as CEDAW and its Optional Protocol.

Attention should be called to the electronic publication entitled “International women’s rights instruments,” which compiles the main international instruments on women’s rights, all of which Brazil is signatory: the CEDAW and its Optional Protocol, the Belém do Pará Convention, and the Cairo and the Beijing Declarations, with brief comments by the specialists Leila Linhares, Maria Luiza Viotti, Silvia Pimentel, and Tânia Patriota.

In 2006, the Secretariat published the full text of the Maria da Penha Law, which bans violation against women, and presented its main innovations. It should be recalled that this law meets a recommendation of the CEDAW Committee.

The SPM has supported the dissemination of publications to promote the new Law, such as the manual entitled “Instructions on handling cases of domestic violence against women, based on Law 11340/2006”, a manual prepared by Police Chief Iumara Bezerra Gomes, of the Paraíba Civilian Police, on the enforcement of the Maria da Penha Law by police district professionals.

It has also supported the promotion of the “Manual on Multidisciplinary Training”, published by the Judiciary of the Mato Grosso Court of Justice, and prepared to help the multidisciplinary training of public agents involved in the implementation of Law 11340/2006, the Maria da Penha Law. The manual includes doctrine texts that help understand the importance of this law in the system of protection of human rights of women on the internal front, based on the Constitution of the Republic, and on the international front, under the international treaties and conventions ratified by Brazil.