Brazilian NGO fighting for gender equality by teaching women new skills

World Today

Globally, the gender pay gap still exists, with women paid less than men for the same work. In Brazil, women work more than men, but they still earn less. They also lead families and do most of the housework.

As CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports, one organization is fighting to empower women in Rio de Janeiro.

Renata Bispo, a 33-year-old mother of four, is happy. She has a job, her first job. She is now a talented seamstress thanks to the “Mulheres do Salgueiro” center – Women of Salgueiro, in English.

“I am going through a difficult time because I am separated,” Bispo said. “But then I think, thank God, I have a profession. It would me be much worse if I didn’t.”

Bispo is also an instructor at the NGO that teaches women of a poor community in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, how to sew and become artisans of some kind.

Janete Nazareth, the NGO founder, struggles to get orders but also sells the center’s own innovative products that include fish skin and leftovers from clothing factories to make handbags and garments.

“Since 2006, when we began, we have trained more than five thousand women and we believe that at least sixty percent are now supporting themselves,” said Nazareth.

But women in Brazil still face inequalities. Since 2015, the latest official figures show that women work on average five hours per week more than men, and earn 76-percent compared to men. And among the country’s total number of women, more than 20 percent don’t have a job or education. Women represent 44 percent of Brazil’s labor market, according to the government.

Most of these women are the heads of their family, they are unemployed and learning a new profession to earn a living and inspire others to do the same.