After 26 years of delays, the Brazilian Congress approved legislation last week to guarantee women full equality to men in the eyes of the law. Brazilian feminists applauded the measure, which they say, will eliminate some of the most blatant discriminatory practices against women.
Under the new law, men will no longer be given unrestricted power over the fate of the family. Instead, men and women will be required to make family decisions jointly and single mothers will be recognized as the heads of their own households. Additionally, a man will no longer be able to annul his marriage on the grounds that he did not know the woman was not a virgin before they married.
Solange Bentes Jurema, President of the National Council for Women’s Rights, one of the leading feminist organizations in Brazil welcomes the changes, citing the changing concept of family duty in Brazil. “The family is no longer an institution that is the property of the man,” said Jurema. “But a union in which all members have responsibilities and duties.”