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The Law Makes Prejudice Illegal, It Doesn't End It, Says President of Brazil's Supreme Court

03/14/2018 - 08h56

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FROM SÃO PAULO

"The law does not bring prejudice to an end. The law prohibits prejudice." That was what Supreme Court President Cármen Lúcia had to say about the article in the 1988 Constitution that expressed that men and women have equal rights.

During "Women in Power - The Gender Issue in the Brazilian Justice System", an event promoted by Folha de S. Paulo in the city of São Paulo in parallel to the World Economic Forum on Latin America, Justice Cármen Lúcia, who has been a pioneer on several fronts in the Supreme Court, advised people to be realistic when it came to the issue.

Marivaldo Oliveira/Código19/Folhapress
Supreme Court President Cármen Lúcia
Supreme Court President Cármen Lúcia

The other participants were Grace Mendonça, currently the chief minister of the Union's General Advocacy Office (AGU) and Maria Elizabeth Rocha, a minister of the Supreme Military Court. The event was mediated by Maria Cristina Frias, the editor of Folha's Mercado Aberto column (Open Market).

Justice Cármen Lúcia believes that sexism still exists, but in a more disguised fashion.

Grace Mendonça, at the AGU, said that there is still a "very significant gap" between the rights that are protected in the Constitution and reality.

"This insertion process is extremely complicated and extremely difficult", Ms. Mendonça said. She was the first woman to officially head the AGU.

The integration of women in the Armed Forces has been a difficult task, and, at the current rate, it will take three decades before being fully achieved. According to Maria Elizabeth Rocha, a minister of the Military Superior Court (STM), this is "too much time".

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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