Feminism in the Favela

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Two Generations of Afro-Brazilian Women Reflect on Changes

by Zaneta Denny 

In such a diverse population, can one interpretation of feminism prevail, or is it a case of divide and rule?

For 30 years, Latin American and Caribbean women have gathere

d together for Encuentros to discuss feminist issues in the region. Last November 1,500 women gathered in Lima, Peru for the 13th Encuentro Feminista.

Shirley Villela Shirley Villela

Latin and Caribbean women share painful histories of colonization, dictatorship and drug-war violence. In this multiracial, multilingual, pluriethnic region, feminism has had a troublesome, non-inclusive history. The Brazilian feminist movement is a paragon of these fissures.

White Brazilian Shirley Villela — a former Gender Responsive officer for the UN Women’s Agency — explains how white feminists found it hard to embrace intersectionality at the birth of the movement in Brazil, “I guess it’s because of history, how the first feminist wave began…

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