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Political Science | Women's Studies


In October 2010 Dilma Rousseff broke Brazil highest glass ceiling by becoming the country's first woman president. After her re-election in 2014, her government suffered strong opposition both in Congress and on the streets, culminating in her 2016 impeachment. In this talk, I discuss the role gender played in the election of Dilma Rousseff, how being a woman influenced the nomination of cabinet members and policymaking, and the ways in which her gender affected the 2016 impeachment process. By comparing Dilma Rousseff’s presidency with her predecessor and successor, I elaborate on how Brazilian formal political institutions are gendered in a way that benefits men in the electoral process, how women’s leadership is often undermined by the masculine spaces where policymaking is discussed, and how the Brazilian political system undermines the proposal and implementation of feminist and women-centered policies.