Rosângela Silva, Janja, Michelle Bolsonaro and Giselle Bezerra are active in their husbands’ candidacies for the Presidency of the Republic. Lula (PT), Jair Bolsonaro (PL) and Ciro Gomes (PDT) have in their favor a change from previous elections to attract empathy, break stigma in campaigns and reach the largest segment of Brazilian voters.
Women represent 82.3 million of the electorate eligible to vote on October 2, the date of the first round. The total is 10 million greater than that of men, who are 74 million according to the Electoral Justice. Since the 2002 election, women are the majority in the electorate.
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Janja has a history of militancy for the PT — she joined the party in the 1980s. She accompanied Lula during his time in prison in Curitiba (PR) and helped to popularize again the jingle “Lula there” — used in past campaigns and repeated by PT on trips around the country in recent months. She often sings the jingle at events with Lula.
PT’s wife performed the song at the official launch of the pre-campaign as a wedding gift — Lula and Janja got married on May 18in Sao Paulo.Squid has repeated in his speeches that marriage is a sign that he is a candidate of love versus hate. At these times, Janja is usually on stage alongside other politicians linked to the campaign.
There was an expectation that Michelle would join Bolsonaro’s reelection campaign in an institutional video of the PL in June, but she withdrew at the last minute. The first lady changed her stance this month and has actively participated in the campaign. The turning point occurred in the Official launch of Jair Bolsonaro’s candidacy for reelectionin Rio de Janeiro, on July 24th.
Evangelical, Michelle has spoken and prayed at events with the current president. It is seen as an important element to alleviate the 61% disapproval that the president has among women — Bolsonaro grew in this audience, from 21% in June to 27% of voting intentions in July, according to Datafolha. Lula had 49% among this audience and fluctuated to 46%, within the poll’s margin of error of two percentage points.
At the convention that launched Bolsonaro’s candidacyIn July, for example, Michelle said her husband passed laws protecting women.
The reelection campaign HQ also has the First Lady for meetings, such as meeting with businesswomen.
Giselle Bezerra, on the other hand, officially joined Ciro Gomes’ campaign last Sunday, a change from the stance adopted in 2018. The two have been together for six years, but Ciro did not count on her official participation in campaign materials until then.
His wife comes as a reinforcement for Ciro to try to reduce the advantage that Lula and Bolsonaro have in the leadership of the polls for voting intentions. In a video posted on the candidate’s social networks, Giselle counters criticism that Ciro Gomes has an aggressive posture when dealing with other candidates for the Planalto Palace and presenting his proposals to voters.
“I look at Ciro and say: ‘I don’t know how you put up with this’. A man like you, with a heart like yours, really like you are. Because he is for real. ‘Ah, intemperate’. Intemperate ? How intemperate, he is outraged”, says the candidate’s companion in the material.
Giselle has also been with Ciro on his pre-campaign trips, such as a visit to Bahia on Thursday (11).
Political scientist Vera Chaia, a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) in São Paulo, says that the current presence of companions of presidential candidates shows a new form of relationship with electoral campaigns.
“I don’t remember spouses with this role in campaigns. The candidates’ wives are usually not very participative. Historically, it didn’t happen in such a clear, explicit way”, he says.
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The expert cites as an example Marisa Letícia, First Lady from 2003 to 2010, who died of a stroke in 2011. According to her, Lula’s then companion was present at the events, but only to accompany the candidate.
Vera Chaia considers that the more effective presences of Janja, Michelle and Giselle have different reasons. While Janja seeks to keep the PT campaign at the “most effusive level”, the other two try to attract the female vote to Bolsonaro and Ciro, respectively.
“This is the relationship, perhaps because of the need to convince women, a segment that is the majority of the population and voters. Perhaps it is an appeal for greater conviction, especially in the case of Bolsonaro”, he says.
role of first ladies
The professor says that the attribution exercised by the first ladies, as the wives of the chief executives are called, is usually restricted to being “accessory of presidents”. This has been maintained throughout history in Brazilian politics, with these women fulfilling the role of female representation, although without decision-making power in the government.
“It’s more a role of solidarity, empathy. A Brazilian case is that of Mrs. Darcy Vargas (wife of Getúlio Vargas, president in the 1930s and 1950s). She had a culture of being very participative in periods of distribution of Christmas baskets. , gifts or Easter eggs, only. In the military regime, they were all ignored, the commanders were in charge”, says Vera.
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This role was modified by Ruth Cardoso, first lady in the two governments of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, in the 1990s. “In Ruth’s case, it was different because she was involved with social movements, knowledge about a series of issues, poverty, solidarity. This made FHC’s social programs to be developed by her”, he says.
The reality is repeated in other countries, such as the United States. Michelle Obama, First Lady from 2009 to 2017 during Barack’s administration, was an example of a president’s wife with an active role – in this case, by proposing to confront racism.
Data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) show that women make up 51.8% of the population, but this representation is not reflected in political positions. In the Chamber of Deputies, women occupy 77 of the 513 seats (15% of the total). Percentage similar to the 14% of representation in the Senate (they are in 12 of 81 seats).
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For the first time since redemocratization, Brazil will have two slates of candidates for the presidency and the vice formed by women: Vera Lúcia/Raquel Tremembé (PSTU) and Simone Tebet (MDB)/Mara Gabrilli (PSDB).
There was only one other opportunity in presidential elections with two women on the same ticket. In 2006, Ana Maria Rangel and Delma Gama ran for the former Progressive Republican Party (PRP).
THE Electoral Justice made gender quota mandatory for this year’s election. The law establishes that parties must have at least 30% of female candidates, an initiative to encourage female participation in politics.