In recent weeks, one could believe Jair Bolsonaro calmed down. Since his abortive attempt at a “counter-coup” at the beginning of September, the Brazilian president has kept his head down, carefully avoiding controversies and gusting insults, which he is accustomed to doing. But a new controversy launched by him is now igniting the country. And unworthy of many Brazilian women.
At issue: the veto imposed on October 7 by Jair Bolsonaro on several points of a bill allowing in particular the free distribution of tampons and sanitary napkins to the poorest young students in the public system. An absolute necessity, in a country where, according to the NGO Girl Up, one in four adolescent girls has no protection during the period of her period. The shame then felt pushes many of them not to go to school during their period, sometimes missing up to several weeks of school per year.
To put an end to this ordeal, a bill, dubbed “program for the protection and promotion of menstrual health” was adopted by Congress in mid-September. This was to benefit 5.6 million young women, including students from working-class backgrounds, but also homeless women detained in prison.
“I am the slave of the laws”
Supported by around thirty deputies, the project seemed to gain a consensus. But that was without taking into account Jair Bolsonaro. Citing the cost of the measure (84.5 million reais per year, or 13 million euros), the latter opposed an end of inadmissibility to parliamentarians. “I am the slave of the laws: I cannot promulgate a thing if there are no sources of income [pour le financer]. I would then be liable for a crime of responsibility and would have to answer for a dismissal immediately ”, justified the Head of State on October 11.
The decision did not surprise anyone. Mr. Bolsonaro has never made a secret of his misogyny. His own daughter Laura, born after four boys, would be the result, according to him, of a fraquejada, a “Moment of weakness”. Member of Parliament, he gravely insulted one of the colleagues (“I won’t rape you because don’t deserve it”) and justified the behavior of business leaders deciding to pay more men than women. “ [Une mère qui vient d’accoucher] only works five months out of a year! “, he explained in 2014.
Despite everything, the presidential veto sparked a wave of indignation. A hashtag #LivreParaMenstruar (“free to have your period”) is circulating online in Brazil and among the diaspora. On October 10, in Paris, dozens of stamps were hung on the facade of the Brazilian Embassy in protest. “ What century are we living in? (…) Until when will our daughters be deprived of studies? “, the famous singer Preta Gil was indignant. Presenter Rafa Brites, for her part, called the president of “Scoundrel”.
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