Rio de Janiero

Meet 10 women leaders from Rio de Janiero

By WOW - Women of the World Foundation

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro!

WOW Festivals are presented by Redes Da Maré, who brought together these woman for the exhibition. The incredible organisation is  a civil society institution that produces knowledge, projects and actions to ensure effective public policies to improve the lives of 140,000 residents of the 16 Maré’s favelas. 

Presented in partnership with The WOW Foundation, WOW Rio sees thousands of people gather (95,000 in 2018!) to bring together the Voices, Experiences And Ideas Of Women In Rio De Janeiro, With All Their Diversity.

Cultural Life, Arts and Expression: Kaê Guajajara (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Kaê Guajajara

Kaê is an indigenous singer, songwriter, actress and writer who is originally from Maranhão (Northeast Brazil) and now lives in Rio de Janeiro. Kaê has been breaking the silence and the chains imposed by racism and colonisation; raising up cries of resistance that span and echo from since Brazil was a Portuguese Colony.

"My singing tries to present melodies in new formats, drawing attention to decolonisation and antiracist lyrics, so this way I can establish through the arts a relationship with non-indigenous society and oppose to structural racism, social invisibility and violence that affect all of us indigenous people."

Education: Camila Araújo Alves (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Camila Araújo Alves

Camila Alves is a clinical psychologist and Arts-educator and describes herself as a white, middle-class, blind woman who relies on her guide dog for most of her day to day activities. She has been working for over 12 years in Education programmes of Cultural Centres and Museums in Brazil, advocating for accessibility and education programmes in cultural and arts centres.

"We, people with disabilities, are daily informed of our non-rights to access numerous spaces, contents, relationships and platforms. I’d like to dedicate my participation in this exhibition to all the people who have their lives crossed by exclusion and who fight for the  
transformation of the world in a more just and dignified place for all of us."

Leadership, Power and Politics: Bruna Benevides (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Bruna Benevides

Bruna is a transgender rights activist, and the first transgender women to serve in the military army in Brazil. After coming out as a transgender women, she fought a long legal battle to guarantee her rights to continuing working in the army, which was granted in 2018, a historical result in the country.

"There is power in the diversity of this voices and the commitment between women - cis and trans, of all races, religion and social backgrounds - we represent the struggles faced daily in our society against sexism, transphobia and structural oppression."

Finance and Economy: Nina Silva (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Nina Silva

 Nina Silva is an IT expert and a black woman who was born and raised in a peripheral community in Brazil. After a burnout, she turned her career around with a purpose driven action and started investing in Business and Activism. She is the founder of the Black Money Movement in Brazil, a network that empowers black people, foster education and entrepreneurship, and create business opportunities for the Brazilian black community.

"The Black Money Movement is a hub for innovation and fostering entrepreneurship with a focus on the black communities. The intention is to make the money circulate and stay longer among black people before going into the hands of other ethnic groups, bringing more economic strength to our people."

Identity: Mãe Celina de Xangô – Mother of Saint (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Mãe Celina de Xangô – Mother of Saint

Celina is nationally renowned for keeping black diaspora traditions and identity alive through activism, workshops, talks and courses and is the Director of Cultural Centre Little Africa in Rio de Janeiro, a space created to capture and keep African diaspora cultural legacy alive.

Mãe Celina de Xangô – Mother of Saint

"We are nurturing and planting in rich soil our black, afro diaspora identities and results are coming. We are blooming. There is no turning back, because we are also women of the world."

Climate Change: Ana Santos (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Ana Santos

Ana is a Black female educator, culinarian and urban farming enthusiast and agroecology activist. She is Co-founder of social environmental NGOs, which trains vulnerable communities to create urban green spaces and farming. It is in this land marked by structural inequality that she lays her belief in the healing power of plants and healthy food sovereignty for peripheral communities.

"Our aim is to empower people to take sustainability and food sovereignty in their own hands: for centuries agroecology and urban farming was a common part of family's daily lives, it was so common, it is part of us, and we need to realise that it's part of our future. We can make it happen again. "

Peace and Justice: Irone Santiago (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Irone Santiago

Irone is a human rights activist and resident of Favela da Maré - the biggest favela in Rio de Janeiro, home of 140.000 people. She is part of the civil society collective Mothers of Maré, a group that supports mothers that had their sons killed by the State during police operations in peripheral communities. The group advocates for justice and the creation of public policies that prevent systematic crimes against black youths from favelas to keep going unnoticed by the government and the media.

"It is difficult to talk about peace and justice in a country where the laws do not work for a large part of our society...Justice in Brazil is not for the poor, but we’ll fight until the end for this to be a reality."

Conflict: Eliana Sousa Silva (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Eliana Sousa Silva

In 1996  Eliana founded Redes de Desenvolvimento da Maré (Maré Development Networks), as a non-governmental organisation which has become a national reference point for its educational, social and cultural projects.

"I seek to overcome conflicts and injustices by dialoguing and bringing to the table people of different positions, backgrounds and values: always seeking to guaranteeing what should be ours all along: basic human rights for the population of slums and peripheries not only in Rio de Janeiro, but in other regions of Brazil."

Domestic Life: Berenice Piana (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Berenice Piana

Berenice Piana is a Brazilian activist, co-author of the constitutional right number 12.764, enacted on December 28, 2012, which bears her name: the Berenice Piana act. It is the first law in Brazil which instituted the National Policy for the Protection of the Rights of People with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

"When a child is born with autism, the impact of it on a family depends on the family context and how these people were educated about differences between human beings and disabilities. I chose to fight and bring a minimum of dignity to these families, when they didn't even have an institutionalized law to guarantee their rights."

Health: Nisia Trindade de Lima (2020) by Aline FonsecaWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Dr. Nísia Trindade Lima

Dr. Nísia Trindade Lima is President of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), the most important health institution in Brazil. A highly respected researcher, teacher and sociologist, she is the first woman to chair the institution in its 116-year history. 

"I have been striving to strengthen our Equity and Gender Committee around a number of issues, and I keep highlighting that women are the majority among our health workers and researchers, but a minority in management positions. May my position in the presidency serve not only as an example, but as an engine to reduce this inequity."

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