Black Women Are Now the Largest Group in Brazil's Public Universities

Advancement occurred along with affirmative actions; vulnerability of black boys helps explain the phenomenon

Black women make up 28% of the Brazilian population and suffer rampant discrimination , but today they comprise the most numerous group in public higher education institutions.

Data from the last Continuous Annual National Household Sample Survey, released in 2019, shows that self-declared Black and brown women make up 27% of public higher education students in 2019. Then comes white women and men, with 25% each, and Black men, with 23%.

The picture differs from 2001, when Black women were the third largest group, representing 19% of university students from public institutions, ahead of only Black men (13%).

Work published in 2020 by Tatiana Dias Silva, from the Institute of Applied Economic Research, shows that Black women have been the majority in the number of students entering public and private universities since 2017, accounting for 29.3% of the total.

For specialists, this result can be explained by factors such as affirmative action, in a context of greater education among women; a premature entry of Black youth into the labor market due to economic vulnerability; and discouragement due to the educational exclusion of Black men from elementary school.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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