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Women are still a minority in leadership positions

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Women are still a minority in leadership positions

The disparity is observed not only in the percentage of women in leadership but also in remuneration

Women are the majority among students who are about to complete higher education, however they are a minority in positions of power. Data released this Friday (8) by IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) shows, for example, that only 39.3% of managerial positions in the country are held by women.

Women only make up the majority in management and coordination in the areas of education (69.4%) and human health and social services (70%). “Women occupy more management positions precisely where they are also more placed in general, that is, areas related to care”, finds researcher Bárbara Cobo.

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The lowest female participation is seen in the agriculture, livestock, forestry, aquaculture and fishing sectors (15.8%).

The disparity is observed not only in the percentage of women in leadership but also in remuneration. The income of female executives is just 78.8% of that paid to men.

In only three areas, female income exceeds male income: agriculture, livestock, forestry engineering, aquaculture and fishing (128.6%), water, sewage and waste activities (109.4%) and administrative activities and complementary services (107 .5%).

Interestingly, these are activities in which men predominate. “We imagine that this is associated with them entering these sectors typically occupied by men with greater professional specialization, which leads to higher income”, explains Bárbara.

The greatest inequalities are in the transport, warehousing and mail and human health and social services sectors. In these sectors, women’s earnings correspond to 51.2% and 60.9% of men’s, respectively.

Women and leadership in politics

Women are also a minority in positions of power in the public service, both in politics and in the courts, the research shows. In relation to parliament, for example, only 17.9% of federal deputies were women in November 2023.

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Despite showing an improvement compared to September 2020, when federal deputies represented 14.8% of the total, Brazil is still in 133rd position among 186 countries, in terms of women’s parliamentary participation.

In 2020, only 12.1% of municipalities elected female mayors – of which two thirds were white. Of the total number of municipal parliamentarians elected that year, 16.1% were councilors.

Regarding ministries, only nine of the 38 positions with ministerial status were held by women in November 2023.

Data from the CNJ (National Council of Justice) show that there was an increase in the number of female judges in the country from 1988 (24.6%) to 2022 (40%), but women are still a minority. In the state courts, women make up 38%, while in the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) they make up 23%.


If, in the formal job market, men have an advantage, in education it is women who stand out most.

Among students in their final year of college, 60.3% are women. Most of them are concentrated in undergraduate courses related to the area of ​​well-being (91% are women).

“They complete higher education at a higher rate than men, so they should supposedly have a higher average salary, but when you look at the areas in which they have greater participation, they are the least valued areas”, highlights researcher Betina Fresneda.

In science and technology courses, which include the areas of science, information technology, mathematics, statistics and engineering, women make up only 22% of graduates.

“Although they have a wide advantage in accessing higher education, and this has not changed much in 10 years, they still face barriers to entering certain areas of knowledge, especially those linked to exact sciences and the sphere of production”, highlights Betina .

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According to the survey, among women aged 25 or over, 21.3% had completed higher education, compared to 16.8% of men. However, there is greater inequality when comparing white women (29%) with black or mixed-race women (14.7%). The disparity of color or race can also be observed in terms of school attendance: 39.7% of white women aged 18 to 24 studied, compared to only 27.9% of black or mixed-race women.

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