‘Nothing about women without us’ – Xiomara Castro, President of Honduras

The health of Portuguese women over 65 is worse than men, the 2021 report from the European Institute for Gender Equality claims. Only 12% assess their health positively (versus 18% in men) and 68% declare to have limitations in daily activities (56% in men). Healthy life expectancy in Portugal is 72 years for women, one year less than for men!

The report also looked at the issue of domestic violence and revealed that every two in three Portuguese women are victims in the domestic space, confirming the recent statement of UN Secretary-General António Guterres that ‘lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing Covid-19 but can trap women with abusive partners’.

It is estimated that around 6,500 ethnic-minority women over 15 years of age might have been subjected to female genital mutilation. Last year health Portuguese professionals detected 101 cases. The practice is considered a crime and punishable by a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Women face greater barriers in their careers than men and the labor market should become more inclusive. These are the main conclusions of the study Diversity & Inclusion last summer. Two-third of working women view they have barriers in their professional progression whereby gender issues continue to be the most penalizing factor. Further aspects in which women feel discriminated against in their careers are remuneration (less payment for the same work) and ethnicity (more job rejections in non-Caucasian women).

Covid-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities that disadvantage women. Sectors most affected by the pandemic are those with a high level of women workers, including the restaurant and hospitality business as well as the travel sector. 

In 2020, 35 women were murdered, 19 gender-based. There were also more than 50 femicide attempts, according to the Observatory of Murdered Women. In the first 10 months of this year already 14 women lost their lives.

Since domestic violence became a public crime in 2000, the police reported more than 215,000 cases in the last 20 years. Although overall the number of complaints remained the same, the number of detainees increased in the last two years by almost a third.

In the next blog – scheduled for January 2022 – you will find out that not all is doom and gloom with women in Portugal.

BOAS FESTAS               HAPPY HOLIDAYS                   (pic Público/Sapo)


‘Democracy has no owner’ (Carlos Moedas, new mayor of Lisbon)

The ruling center-left Socialist Party (PS) of prime minister António Costa won the local elections with 34% of the votes. Although less convincing than 4 years ago, when the SP was able to take the lead in 160 of the 308 municipalities. This time the party lost 11 councils.

The center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) gained ground with 24% of the votes. After its worse result ever in 2017 – winning only 98 councils – it recovered 16 municipalities, giving the party the chance to nominate the mayor.

The completely unexpected loss of the Socialists in Lisbon against Novos Tempos (‘New Times’) – a coalition of right-wing parties, including the PSD – meant a sensitive blow to the PS, who had been in power there for 14 consecutive years.

The newly elected mayor in the capital – Carlos Moedas – however, will face a red wall of councillors. The rightist PSD coalition has seven councillors, exactly the same amount as the leftist PS. But there are three more councillors who are likely to team up with the PS. Two communists and one from the Left Bloc, a party with Marxist roots and 19 deputies in Parliament but no mayors at the local level.

The Centre Democratic and Social Popular Party (CDS-PP) – a conservative Christian anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia party – won, in alliance with the PSD, in only 5 councils. One less than four years ago.

The biggest loser was the one-hundred-year-old Communist Party (PCP) – one of the strongest communist parties in Western Europe – who got just over 8% of the votes, losing 5 of their 19 councils. Their worst result since 1976, when Portugal introduced democracy after the Carnation Revolution.

The far-right, xenophobic and nationalist party Chega (‘Enough’) – with one seat in Parliament and taking part in the local elections for the first time – achieved modest success with 4% of the votes, not enough though to conquer a council.

Only 28 councils (9%) were won by a woman, 4 less than in 2017. The Socialists elected most women for mayor – 18 out of 28 – followed by the Social Democrats with 7 women and the Communists with 3 women in the leadership.

The turnout was traditionally poor.
Of the nine million voters, who were able to take part in this election, just over 50% showed up.

Enjoy your week                   Approveite sua semana      (pic Sapo/Ptres)


In the heart of Lisbon – on the Santana hill between the Travessa da Pena and the Beco de São Luis – used to be the clothing manufactory of Ramiro Leão.
A textile factory of fabrics and shirts – surrounded by barracks for dying, laundry and ironing – build on top of a poor man’s cemetery of the long-gone hospital Todos os Santos (All Saints).

Ramiro Leão (1857-1934), born in Gavião moved young to the capital, where he became one of the most powerful merchants and founder of the cosmopolitan warehouse Ramiro Leão & Co (nowadays United Colors of Benneton) in the glamorous Chiado neighbourhood.
He also was the director of the Chamber of Commerce, manager of the Bank of Portugal and City Councillor of Lisbon.

Since the old factory broke down, it experienced a complete facelift and is nowadays a graceful blue eye-catcher in the skyline of Lisbon with nine apartments, a lush Mediterranean garden and a magnificent city view.

On the 11th of July, 1915 the newspaper Voz do Operário (the Worker Voice) publishes a letter from the father of a needlewoman working in the factory of Ramiro Leão. It reveals that the workers have to pay for the sewing threads they use ( 80-90 cent a week) and are forced to pay a deposit to cover any damage done to the machines they work with. Working hours are long, conditions very poor and their weekly salary only 180-220 cents.
In the August 8 edition, the Seamstresses Union – whose leaders belong to the hardcore of the Union of Socialist Women – declares to defend their companions. A committee, including three workers from the Ramiro Leão factory – Miquelina Furtado, Laurinda Pinheiro e Lucia Martins – is set up to promote a law that limits working hours. The factory manager immediately fires the three woman as ‘irreducible revolutionaries’ and ‘disturbing elements.’

In protest against this dismissal, a massive strike takes place the next day outside the gates of the factory. The strikers look for Ramiro Leão but he refuses to recognize the Union and its members. The peaceful protest lasts about four and a half hours and is finally swept away by military force.
The Ramiro Leão women’s strike was defeated but paved the way for a law in 1919, that limited working hours to eight hours a day.

Aproveite sua semana                    Enjoy your week              (pic Vozoperário)



Sex without consent is rape’ – Istanbul Convention, 2011

Violence against women is a crime and a shame for the country’
– Rosa Monteiro, Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality

Although in Portugal verbal sexual harassment is a crime – with penalties varying from a fine of up to 120 euros to a year in prison – violence against women is increasing.

In the first ten months of this year, already 24 women have been killed by their (ex) partners or close relatives. Four more than in 2017.

‘As long as our society maintains its patriarchal and male chauvinist features, aggression against women is legitimized’, says Elisabeth Brasil of the Assassinated Women’s Observatory (OMA), accusing the government of not providing the necessary support to the victims of domestic violence.

The legal system doesn’t seem to be very woman-friendly either and courts often continue to disclaim the perpetrators and hold the victims accountable. Only one-third of the convicts for sexual crimes – rape, sexual coercion, and abuse – end up in prison, while most of them walk free with a suspended prison sentence.

Conceição Cunha, professor of Criminal Law at Porto’s Catholic University, also has the impression that condemnation to imprisonment is low for sex crimes. Lawyer Leonore Valente Monteiro isn’t surprised at all about the low number of convictions, especially ‘if the abuse doesn’t leave physical marks.’

In the meantime, the government becomes convinced that the legislation on sexual crimes needs to be reviewed in the light of the Istanbul Convention, ratified by Portugal in 2013. This Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence states very clear in article 36, that ‘a sexual act without voluntary consent is a crime.’

But not only the Portuguese legislation is inadequate on women abuse, maintaining a culture of blaming the victim and perpetuate impunity. Amnesty International shows in their report ‘Right to be free from rape’, that the majority of the European countries continue to acknowledge rape only if there is proof of physical violence or coercion. Merely 8 of the 31 member states define rape based on the ‘lack of consent’, as defined in the Istanbul declaration.

Bom fim de semana
                Enjoy the weekend                 (pic SAPO/LUSA)


In een recente personeelsadvertentie op de website Carga dos Trabalhos –gespecialiseerd in banen voor de media – werden relaxte en opgewekte medewerksters gezocht. Sollicitaties door Portugezen werden daarbij niet op prijs gesteld! Het mediabedrijf Cloud Choice Health uit São Pedro do Estoril, een voorstadje van Lissabon, wil namelijk geen ‘onzekere en besluiteloze’ types voor de programmering van hun nieuwe – op de vrouw gerichte – videokanaal. ‘Portugese vrouwen zijn over het algemeen depressieve en ongelukkige mensen’, aldus de eigenaar van het bedrijf, Heinricho Pereira. Zijn voorkeur gaat uit naar Braziliaanse medewerksters, ‘die zijn veel vrolijker.’

In Portugal verdienen vrouwen – evenals in de meeste andere Europese lidstaten – voor hetzelfde werk 16,5% minder dan mannen. Dit betekent in feite dat vrouwen twee maanden per jaar voor niets werken!
Voor hoger opgeleide vrouwen zijn de verschillen in salaris met mannen nog groter en kunnen zelfs oplopen tot 26%.

Ook binnen het gezin is er nog weinig vooruitgang geboekt en besteden vrouwen per dag gemiddeld ruim anderhalf uur meer aan huishoudelijke taken dan mannen.
Anno 2017 vindt ruim 70% van de Portugese mannen, dat vrouwen veel ‘geschikter’ zijn voor het huishouden en de zorg voor de kinderen en dat mannen beter zijn in het opknappen van ‘klusjes in huis.’

De staatssecretaris van Emancipatie en Burgerschap Catarina Marcelino schrikt van deze cijfers. ‘Het lijkt wel alsof er sinds de vorige eeuw niets veranderd is!’ Zij wil af van de machocultuur en de stereotype rolverdelingen in het gezin – ‘jongens hoeven geen Bob de Bouwer te zijn’ – en vindt dat voorlichting daarover op school niet vroeg genoeg kan beginnen. ‘Dat zal ook de strijd tegen huiselijk geweld ten goede komen.’ Huiselijk geweld

Politiek wil gerechtigheid
De socialistische regering – die ongelijkheid in beloning wil uitbannen – heeft aangekondigd dat bedrijven, die vrouwen minder betalen, riskeren contracten bij de overheid mis te lopen.  Met de vertegenwoordigers van de ‘booming’ schoenenindustrie – die 95% van haar productie exporteert en waar 60% van de werknemers vrouw is – werd onlangs een historisch akkoord gesloten over gelijke beloning voor mannen en vrouwen.

IJsland – dat pionier is op dit gebied – is het eerste land in de EU waar vanaf 2018 wettelijk geregeld is, dat voor hetzelfde werk hetzelfde loon wordt betaald, ongeacht gender, seksuele oriëntatie, etnische afkomst of nationaliteit.

Geniet van het weekend     Tenha um ótimo fim de semana