Women and land reform in Brazil

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In Brazil, rampant inequities severely affect women. The disparities are supported by entrenched social norms, a correspondingly discriminatory infrastructure, and inequitable land distribution that is deep-rooted. Consequently, poverty in Brazil is feminine, landless, and common. The 2001 gini coefficient for income distribution is .6 and .8 for land distribution [Federal Republic of Brazil: Ministry of Agrarian Development, 2001, p. 1]. Thus, the situation of modern Brazilian women is unique because of the magnitude and scope of their challenges. To illustrate the interconnectedness of the inequities that Brazilian women are subjected to and the severe affects of discriminatory practices, Brazil’s tumultuous history of land struggles and varied aspects of modern Brazilian culture will be explored. Recently, feminine land ownership has gained even greater importance, as women’s poverty has been increasing with their lack of resources. Their concerns have been subjugated to class battles, and in changing times, their traditional gender roles have forced them to accomplish more work and take on additional responsibilities. Because of the integrated and malleable character of their repression, it is important to explore national social, political, and economic norms that have influenced the culture in which Brazilian women live and the historic hierarchies (supported by restrictive land ownership) that have been maintained and strengthened through an evolving society. Because of the generalizations and limitations inherent in any paper that is not a restrictive case study, this work aims to provide a general overview of the current hardships surrounding Brazilian women and land obtainment. Specifically, this paper hopes to illustrate the problematic nature of inequities in Brazil, their severity, their interconnectedness, and their resistance to annihilation. Through this examination, it will become apparent that without continued pressure for comprehensive change, the majority of Brazilian society will likely remain poor, landless, and feminine.