August 24, 2019
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Indigenous and farm women demand gender equality in Brazil

Brasilia, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- Groups of indigenous and farm women were received this Tuesday by the Brazilian legislature, where both repeated their criticism of the Jair Bolsonaro government and demanded policies favoring gender equality of a president often called a machista.

The women were received in the Lower House after a march of some 3,000 people and in which indigenous and country women were backed by students and university professors who criticized recent cutbacks in public education budgets.

United in defense of the environment and of family farms, the women protested against the far-right president's policies that lavish all the benefits on big agricultural corporations, and also against the "threats" to the Amazon region represented by some of the projects promoted by Bolsonaro.

"We come to confront every harmful policy, including those that affect the conservation of biodiversity, the right to education in rural areas and indigenous villages, and the strengthening of women's participation in politics," activist Maria Jose Moraes Costa said in the name of women from Brazil's agricultural areas.

At the same time, she said that neither indigenous women nor country women will "give in" to the "machismo of Bolsonaro" nor limit themselves to complaining, but will rather maintain an attitude of "resistance and proposals" in favor of the inhabitants "of farmlands and jungles."

Indigenous and country women also denounced the persistence of macho violence in villages and plantations, and demanded "respect" with the phrase "Our land, our body, our spirit."

Some 1,200 indigenous women from different parts of the country have come together in Brasilia since last Sunday, and this Wednesday they will join the farm women in the "March of the Margaritas," a demonstration that farm women have put on every August in the Brazilian capital since the year 2000.

Joining Brazilians in the demonstration was the Ecuadorian indigenous woman Encarnacion Duchi, who together with representatives of the native communities of other Latin American countries was invited to take part in this women's meeting.

Duchi expressed her satisfaction to EFE about seeing the indigenous and country women "going out into the streets" and said that "all" the native communities of Latin America are "being threatened."

The Ecuadorian activist said she was "particularly worried about Brazil because historically it has set high standards with regard to the environment and indigenous people," which must now survive the controversial policies promoted by Bolsonaro. EFE-EPA ed/cd

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