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Direitos Humanos / 05/09/2020


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According to the World Bank report entitled “Women, Business and Law 2018”, 104 countries still prevent women carrying out certain activities simply because they are women. Here in Brazil, the current restriction prohibits employers hiring women for services that require “the use of muscle strength greater than 20 (twenty) kilos for continuous work, or 25 (twenty-five) kilos for occasional work”. Even though the aforementioned law - Law No. 5,452 of 1943 - aims to protect female workers, it contradicts Article 7 of the Federal Constitution, which imposes the “prohibition on the difference in salaries, the exercise of functions and the admission criterion on grounds of sex , age, color or marital status ”. It is this law - which may well generate a debate about constituting protection or discrimination - responsible for placing Brazil among the 104 countries mentioned by the World Bank.

However, there are other countries with restrictions on women whose laws leave no gap to be considered “protectionist”. In Madagascar, for example, women can only work in “family establishments”. This means that they are prevented working at night, in professions they have to deal with literature or other objects that are considered socially "immoral". In Argentina, on the other hand, women cannot work in the production of liqueurs or alcohol distillation.

But it is Russia that surprises by placing many restrictions on women in the country. There is a list of 456 types of work that women are prohibited doing. Such a listing was started in the Soviet Union in 1974, but it was Putin who made it law in 2000. Thus, in the country only men can be bus or truck drivers, part of the professional ship crew or divers, in addition to many others functions.

The World Bank says that about 2.7 billion women face at least one type of gender-based legal constraint. In addition, it is estimated that there is a 15% loss in the economies of the countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), due to the damage caused by such gender inequalities. To better visualize how common the state's prohibition of female labor is, see the map below:


In 2012, in Iran, women were banned entering 77 university courses some of the country's institutions. This number includes degrees in engineering, computer science, nuclear physics, archeology, chemistry, business and many others. And the reason for that? These materials were considered to be “not suitable for female nature”.

Facing the barrier to teaching women in Iran is, in addition to discrimination, a historical paradox in remembering that Iran was one of the first states in the Middle East to allow women to enter universities. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the government even launched incentive programs for the female portion of the population to attend higher education.

You can't think about higher education in Brazil without remembering the quota system adopted, but do you know how it works? We explain!


It is already difficult to punish rapists in countries that have legislation condemning such violence, as the documentary The Hunting Ground showed the world. The production reports several cases that occurred at universities in the United States in which rapists went unpunished despite evidence and witnesses that corroborated the crimes. It is a film that denounces not only the crimes themselves, but also how society blames the victim.

Now imagine what the situation is like in places rape is "acceptable in some cases". In the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas, for example, a man can force sex with his wife if she is over 14 years old. Similar laws are in effect in Singapore and India, the minimum ages are 13 and 15, respectively.

There are also countries that lower the offender's sentence when he shows an intention to marry the victim, and if the marriage is carried out, the rapist is acquitted, as is the case in Malta and Palestine. When analyzing countries with stricter laws in punishing crimes such as rape, what happens in countries like Saudi Arabia and Morocco draws attention. There, the person punished is the victim. In these states, women are guilty of leaving home without male company, being alone with an unknown man or for a possible pregnancy.



In Russia, 1370 women are beaten by their husbands every hour. The number is more than three times higher than in Brazil - this reality is experienced by 500 women every 60 minutes. It turns out that domestic violence in the largest country in the world is legalized. While many women celebrate the achievement of rights around the world, in 2017 Russia went the other way in decriminalizing the aggressions committed by husbands against their wives and children, as published by The Guardian newspaper. As long as the episode does not recur more than once a year and the woman and children do not need to be hospitalized, the abuser does not have to worry about punishment.

When there is a penalty, it is nothing more than a $ 470 fine and - rarely - 15 days in prison. In addition, if the couple has a joint bank account and the abusive husband does not pay the fine, Russian courts charge the wife. The money collected with these fees is sent to a fund and nobody knows what is done with it, as the Russian Alena Popova points out.

The situation in the host country of the 2018 World Cup is denounced by an organization formed by Russian activists and lawyers, DomesticViolence.Ru. The group also points out that although these figures are frightening, they are far reflecting the real situation of Russian women, since it is estimated that only 10% of victims report their aggressors. Even with 90% of cases remaining in the shadows, the current neglect has already led Russia to join the list of 18 countries with the worst laws to protect women's rights.

Read more: should I put the spoon in a fight between husband and wife?


Did you know that only three U.S. states, out of 50 totals, determine the minimum age to marry as 18? They are Virginia, Texas and New York. In New Hampshire, you must be 13 years old for the marriage to take place and in 25 states there is no definition of a minimum age. This explains the large number of married children in the country. According to the organization Equality Now, 200,000 minors were married in the United States between 2000 and 2015, 90% of whom were girls.

Here in Brazil things are somewhat different. In order to marry 16 or 17 years old, authorization parents or guardians is required. Marriage of children under 16 is permitted in case of pregnancy. A study by the Non-Governmental Organization Promundo states that 877 thousand Brazilian women were married up to 15 years old. The same research points out that in 2018 about 88 thousand children aged 10 to 14 years would be in consensual unions in Brazil. To reverse these figures, Bill 7119/17 was created, which totally prohibits the marriage of children under 16 years old. In June 2018, the Chamber of Deputies approved the decree, which was sent to the Federal Senate.

Seeking to show the impact that a marriage has on the lives of children and adolescents, the organization International Plan Brasil produced a documentary called “Children's Wedding” (which you can watch here). The short film is 23 minutes long and features real stories, as well as testimonials experts on the issue, to show the importance of combating child marriage as a way to guarantee the basic rights of children and adolescents.


For Iran's justice, a woman's testimony is worth half as much as a man's. That is, two women need to testify so that their words have the same weight as those of a single man. In addition, the Iranian state states that the compensation to be paid for killing or injuring a woman is half of what must be paid if such damage is caused to a man.

In Pakistan, the calculation of testimony weights is the same as in Iran. This differentiation contradicts what is stated in the country's constitution. Even with the document stipulating that there should be no discrimination on the grounds of gender, a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man.


In April 2015, the Minister of Education of Sierra Leone issued a decree that prohibited “visibly pregnant” girls attending school and also taking exams. Prevented completing their studies, the young women resort to technical courses that teach them professions such as hairdressing and dressmaking.

Under pressure the International Community, the government of Sierra Leone created schools especially for these pregnant girls, which also constitutes a violation of human rights. This segregation violates the basic right to education of these girls -mothers. Sabrina Mahtani - a researcher with the organization Amnesty International - also points out that this separationist policy fails to deal with the real causes of the problem of child motherhood, which are the high rates of sexual violence and abusive relationships. Mahtani also points out that the lack of sex education in schools is another factor that contributes to the high level of young pregnant women.

But it is not only in Sierra Leone that pregnant girls miss school. Even though there is no law that prevents them studying, in several countries these girls drop out of school because they cannot bear to deal with all the prejudice and judgment of other people. The lack of support parents also makes the journey of these young women much more difficult. In Brazil, for example, only one in four mothers aged between 15 and 17 finishes basic education - according to the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad), conducted in 2015. This means that only about 25% of the 21 millions of pregnant teenagers in Brazil return to study.


In 1995, the capital of China - Beijing - hosted the Fourth World Conference on Women, an event organized by the United Nations. There, the “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” was created, with the aim of achieving gender equality by overcoming the challenges and obstacles faced by girls and women around the world. This document focuses on 12 thematic areas, which are:

Increasing number of women in poverty;

Inequality in access to education and training;

Inequality in access to health services;

Violence against women;

How armed conflicts affect women;

Inequality in participation in economic structures, in productive activities and in access to resources;

Inequality in participation in political power and decision-making bodies;

Insufficient institutional mechanisms to promote the advancement of women;

Deficiencies in the promotion and protection of women's rights;

Stereotyping of issues related to women in the media and the unequal access to these media;

Inequality of participation in decisions about the exploitation of natural resources and the protection of the environment;

Need for protection and promotion aimed specifically at girls' rights.

The document, signed by 189 countries, also prohibits any kind of law that was based on gender. And, contrary to what many people think, it is not just eastern, very religious and / or very poor states that have laws based on gender. Even though 192 countries determine in their Constitutions the equality and non-discrimination of women, many nations in the world have a system of laws that oppresses young people and adults. This oppression, as seen in this text, can occur in several ways, sometimes with the support of laws - such as domestic violence in Russia - and sometimes being illegal, but common because they are considered cultural - such as the culture of rape.

There were many achievements of rights and protections that were denied to women - such as the Maria da Penha Law in force in Brazil -, but it is also noted that there is still much to be improved. Despite the denunciations and protests of the population, many countries continue to deny women's rights. That is why it is important to be aware of the laws that are voted on in the country and the discussions about gender that appear in the media, in schools, at family gatherings and every. Exercising citizenship is also actively participating in debates and not just accepting decisions that concern all Brazilians.

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