According to The Global Gender Gap Index 2020, Brazil has one of Latin America’s largest gender gaps, ranking 22nd out of 25 countries in the region. The economic gender gap remains wide, with a low rate of female participation in the labour force and persisting wage and income inequalities. In 2016 the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) published a report with data that showed women spend close to 73% more hours per week in domestic and care work than men. The gap widens among black women and women in the Northeast Region. Violence against women is also extremely high. In 2018, every two hours one woman was murdered, totaling 4,519 victims of feminicide, 68% of which were black women (IPEA, 2020). In 2019, 304 human rights defenders were murdered across the world, 23 of which in Brazil, the 4th country with the highest incidence of such cases, only behind Colombia, Honduras and the Philippines (FLD, 2020).
Women have traditionally addressed economic inequalities, violence and lack of public services with mutual help groups, which are often informal and seldom have the means to institutionalize and fundraise beyond their communities. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, even though grantmaking for groups of women and LGBTQI has increased by more than $ 1 billion in the past two years, only 1% of these resources has reached grassroots movements. Moreover, the legal institutionalization of organizations in Brazil is a bureaucratic and expensive process, and accessing funds demands high levels of literacy and foreign language skills that are out of reach to most grassroots organisations.
Imuê defends the urgency of addressing the two issues mentioned above: the economic gender gap that affects women’s rights and the lack of access to resources by organised grassroots women’s groups.