Elections: women have, on average, half the wealth of men; candidates are already at a disadvantage, say experts | Election in Numbers

Data from the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) indicate that female candidates for state and federal legislative positions have half the equity of male candidates. Blacks and browns also registered fewer assets than whites.

The deadline to register a candidacy ended on Monday, but the Electoral Court has not yet finalized the consolidation of statistics. Candidates themselves inform the TSE about their assets and can change the value of their assets even after registration.

According to researchers interviewed by the g1the current Brazilian political system favors wealthy candidates, and a smaller wealth can negatively interfere with the performance of someone running for public office.

O g1 analyzed data from candidates for federal and state deputy and, to avoid distortions, removed from the average calculation the 405 candidates with assets above R$ 5 million. In all, there are more than 26 thousand candidates. The medians of the candidacies were also analyzed and the data were grouped by asset value.

Women have, on average, 50% of the wealth of men.

The average wealth of female candidates is 50% of that of men, in the case of candidates for state deputy, and 49% in the case of candidates for federal deputy.

More than half (52%) of candidates for state deputy have up to R$ 1,000 in assets, while among men this group represents 36% of the total.

The same occurs at the federal level: candidates with up to R$ 1 thousand in assets are 48% of the total among women and 33% among men.

The difference also appears at the other end of the table: 25% of male candidates claim to have more than R$500,000. That number drops to 17% among female candidates for the same job. In this comparison, candidates with assets above R$ 5 million were considered.

Blacks have less wealth than whites

TSE data also show that the wealth of black and brown candidates is lower than that of white candidates. In candidates for state deputy, for example, the average wealth of blacks is equivalent to one third of that of whites and that of browns is 59% of that of whites.

(Check out the other analyzes with the data below)

Researcher at the Center for Studies in Public Sector Politics and Economics (Cepesp) at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), Arthur Fisch says that it is not surprising that white men have greater wealth than other areas, since the social structure of Brazil favors this group.

“That’s what I would imagine: men and whites are richer on average than blacks and women, this is to be expected from what we know about Brazil,” he says.

Fisch believes that, although expected, this feature makes minority candidacies less competitive for two reasons:

  • The wealth candidate can self-finance, relying less on party funding or external funding such as crowdfunding;
  • Candidates with their own funds need to worry less about other expenses not related to the election, such as paying rent on the property where they live.

In addition, a campaign requires a dedication of time, and many candidates cannot completely abandon their job, even temporarily, to compete for a vacancy.

Professor at the Federal University of Paraná, Emerson Cervi says that the current financing system, which does not allow companies to collect funds, makes self-financing “very important”.

In this context, the amount of money a candidate has can interfere with his electoral performance, says Cervi.

Despite this, he argues that the variable is not “a decisive interference for all cases”, not least because some candidates have other capital, such as social capital or the professional activity they perform.

Along the same lines, the professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and president of the Brazilian Association of Electoral Researchers (Abrapel), Helcimara Telles, says that candidates with less funds have more difficulties in getting elected.

She believes the ban on corporate funding of candidacies “further diminished the poorest’s chance of being elected.”

“Although people imagined that public funding could reduce the gap between candidates, it only increased”, he says.

For this reason, she defends that reservations be created for minorities. “I believe that we should have a reserve for these minorities, not removing the 513 vacancies [atuais que existem na Câmara]but increasing the seats to share only with minorities”, he says.

Median also points out women, blacks and browns with less wealth

The median, a metric that sees the central term of a dataset and is less affected by extreme values, makes the difference between the wealth of women and that of men running for state and federal deputy positions even clearer. This measure is considered more appropriate by experts for cases like these, where some very high values ​​- such as a billionaire candidate or one who has hundreds of millions – can skew the overall average.

The median assets of male candidates for federal deputy, for example, is R$120,000, while that of women is R$6,317. This means that half of the female candidates have assets below R$6,317, while half of the male candidates have assets below R$120,000.

For state deputy, the situation is not positive either: the median for men is R$ 77,000 and for women is R$ 0. This means that more than 50% of women candidates for state deputy declared to the TSE to have no assets.

When looking at the race of the candidates, whites appear to have more wealth than blacks and browns. When analyzing only male candidates, black candidates for federal deputy have a median of R$12,000, browns R$50,000 and whites R$263,000.

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