A paradox exists regarding the equality of women in Portuguese society. Although the Constitution of 1976 gave women full equality in rights, and the right to vote had already been granted under Prime Minister Marcello Caetano during the Estado Novo, a gap existed between legal reality and social practice. In many respects, the last 30 years have brought important social and political changes with benefits for women. In addition to the franchise, women won—at least on paper—equal property-owning rights and the right of freedom of movement (getting passports, etc.). The workforce and the electorate afforded a much larger role for women, as more than 45 percent of the labor force and more than 50 percent of the electorate are women. More women than ever attend universities, and they play a larger role in university student bodies. Also, more than ever before, they are represented in the learned professions. In politics, a woman served briefly as prime minister in 1979-80: Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo. Women are members of government cabinets ("councils"); women are in the judicial system, and, in the late 1980s, some 25 women were elected members of parliament (Assembly of the Republic). Moreover, women are now members of the police and armed forces, and some women, like Olympic marathoner Rosa Mota, are top athletes.
   Portuguese feminists participated in a long struggle for equality in all phases of life. An early such feminist was Ana de Castro Osório (1872-1935), a writer and teacher. Another leader in Portugal's women's movement, in a later generation, was Maria Lamas (18931983). Despite the fact that Portugal lacked a strong women's movement, women did resist the Estado Novo, and some progress occurred during the final phase of the authoritarian regime. In the general elections of 1969, women were granted equal voting rights for the first time. Nevertheless, Portuguese women still lacked many of the rights of their counterparts in other Western European countries. A later generation of feminists, symbolized by the three women writers known as "The Three Marias," made symbolic protests through their sensational writings. In 1972, a book by the three women writers, all born in the late 1930s or early 1940s (Maria Isabel Barreno, Maria Teresa Horta, and Maria Velho da Costa), was seized by the government and the authors were arrested and put on trial for their writings and outspoken views, which included the assertion of women's rights to sexual and reproductive freedom.
   The Revolution of 25 April 1974 overthrew the Estado Novo and established in law, if not fully in actual practice in society, a full range of rights for women. The paradox in Portuguese society was that, despite the fact that sexual equality was legislated "from the top down," a gap remained between what the law said and what happened in society. Despite the relatively new laws and although women now played a larger role in the workforce, women continued to suffer discrimination and exclusion. Strong pressures remained for conformity to old ways, a hardy machismo culture continued, and there was elitism as well as inequality among classes. As the 21st century commenced, women played a more prominent role in society, government, and culture, but the practice of full equality was lacking, and the institutions of the polity, including the judicial and law enforcement systems, did not always carry out the law.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Women —    Women played an important role in traditional Scandinavian rural society, where their labor power was urgently needed and where, for example, being the mistress of a farm was a position of authority and respect. The worlds of politics,… …   Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater

  • Women —    Women have played a vital role in the economic life of Brussels since the origins of the city. They provided a core element of the workforce in the cloth trade, and, later, in other luxury industries, notably lace production. In the 19th… …   Historical Dictionary of Brussels

  • Women —    Women in Egypt had the most secure position of females anywhere in the ancient world. During the Pharaonic Period, women were recognized as having equal legal rights as men and therefore had the right to own, inherit, and manage property and… …   Ancient Egypt

  • Women — bezeichnet: Women – for America, for the World, US amerikanischer Dokumentarfilm (1986) The Women, US amerikanische Filmkomödie (1939), siehe Die Frauen (Film) The Women – Von großen und kleinen Affären, US amerikanische Filmkomödie (2008) Diese… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • WOMEN — s Organizational Movement For Equality Now (Miscellaneous » Funnies) * Women Opposing Men s Egotistical Nature (Miscellaneous » Funnies) …   Abbreviations dictionary

  • Women — Wom en, n., pl. of {Woman}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • -women — [wim′in] combining form suffix combining form pl. of WOMAN * * * …   Universalium

  • women — the plural of woman …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • women — plural of WOMAN (Cf. woman) (q.v.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • -women — [wim′in] combining form suffix combining form pl. of WOMAN …   English World dictionary

  • women — [wim′in] n. pl. of WOMAN …   English World dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.