Gender, Race and Poverty: Addressing Multiple Identities Through Law

by | Nov 5, 2014

The Oxford Human Rights Hub is delighted to be a part of the ‘Gender, Race and Poverty: Addressing Multiple Identities Through Law’ workshop, from 12th -14th November, 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil.

This international workshop is the results of collaborative efforts between FGV Direito SP, the Oxford Human Rights Hub at the University of Oxford and the University of Witwatersrand, led by Professors Marta Machado (FGV DIREITO SP), Sandra Fredman (University of Oxford), Cathi Albertyn (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg) and Fernanda Emy Matsuda (FGV DIREITO SP).

This conference was made possible by the support of:

  • Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo – FAPESP
  • Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Capes
  • Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico – CNPq

Conference Photos


Conference Programme

Conference Programme in English here

Conference Programme in Portugese here


The purpose of the workshop is to bring together researchers from different parts of the world to share their findings about the role of law in addressing some of the most challenging aspects of discrimination: those involving the intersection between gender, race and poverty. There were few opportunities of getting together researchers in Latin America, Africa, Europe and North America to work together on these issues. Despite the problems, the legal challenges and possibilities for reform are similar and closely related. The workshop will address the international and comparative law, and theory and practice.


The World Development Report 2012 identified substantive victories for women: there was an increase in their schooling, in their life expectancy and  in their participation in the labor market. However, these gains were not reachable to poor women. Women in countries with low and middle income are more likely than men to die, they face unequal access to economic opportunities and are being marginalized in their homes and in society. This results in a cycle of discrimination and disempowerment. Women are responsible for a disproportionate share of care tasks in their homes, an activity that is not valued or remunerated, leading to lower levels of education and lack of preparation to seek financial independence in the formal labor market or to break with prejudices and stereotypes the role of women.

Whereas the World Development Report highlights that these gaps are more pronounced when gender and poverty are combined with other exclusion factors – ethnicity, caste, remoteness, age, race, disability and sexual orientation – there should have a critical study of forms of interaction between gender, race and poverty. While the feminization of poverty is a phenomenon long recognized, gender inequality, racial inequality and poverty are conceptualized as separate problems. Poverty is often approached from a neutral point of view with regard to gender, rather than adopting a comprehensive, integrated and holistic gender perspective. Likewise, racial discrimination is accessed by a neutral perspective regarding both gender and poverty. These approaches are not adequate to portray the various and intricate human rights violations experienced by poor women with multiple identities.

The workshop aims to bring together a diverse group of participants to explore current developments, analyze the weaknesses and try to aim for the future improvements in the case of the ways the structures of human rights can take care of these issues.

Workshop Programme and Audio

November 12th (Wednesday)

 Audio – Part 1, Day 1 (in Portuguese and English):



9.00-9.30 am: Opening

Oscar Vilhena (Dean FGV Direito SP)

Sandra Fredman (University of Oxford)

Marta Machado (FGV Direito SP)

Cathi Albertyn (University of the Witwatersrand)


1st Section: Women and economy

Panel 1 9.30 am-12.00 pm: Labor market: diagnosis and challenges for equality

  • Mediation: Luciana Ramos (FGV DIREITO SP)
  • Sandra Fredman (University of Oxford): Domestic work: dilemmas for multiple identities
  • Marcia Lima (University of São Paulo/CEBRAP): Domestic work in Brazil: recent changes
  • Ligia Pinto Sica (FGV DIREITO SP): Participation of women in senior management positions
  • Maria Rosa Lombardi (Fundação Carlos Chagas): Inequalities in labor market: gender and race intersections
  • Debate


12.00-13.30 pm: Lunch


Panel 2 13.30-15.30 pm: Negotiating subjectivities: institutions, market and intimacy

  • Mediation: Juana Kweitel (Conectas)
  • Prabha Kotiswaran (King’s College): Sex work: a postcolonial materialist feminist approach
  • Margareth Rago (Unicamp): Neoliberalism, subjectivities and feminist resistance
  • Einat Albin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem):Required intimacy: the case of domestic workers
  • India Geronimo Thusi (University of Witwatersrand): Policing “Sex”: relations between police and sex workers in South Africa
  • Debate


Panel 3 15.30-18.00 pm: Public policies for equality: labor market, social security and income distribution

  • Mediation: Jed Kroncke (FGV DIREITO SP)
  • Beth Goldblatt (University of Technology, Sydney): Contesting categories in social security – a role for equality in redefining the social security right
  • Lena Lavinas (UFRJ): “Bolsa Família”: how cash transfers affect poor woman autonomy and gender relations
  • Sergio Costa (Frei Universität Berlin): Protection without redistribution? The persistence of gender and race-related inequalities in Latin America
  • Helena Alviar (University of Los Andes): The gender of progressive legalism in Latin America: social policy and the construction of motherhood
  • Debate 

18.00 pm: Book release: Percepções sobre Desigualdade e Pobreza, by Lena Lavinas


November 13th (Thursday)

  Audio – Part 1, Day 2 (in Portuguese and English):

Audio – Part 2, Day 2 (in Portuguese and English):

2nd Section: Reproductive rights, right to health and violence

Panel 4 9.00-11.00 am: Abortion: advances and setbacks in the struggle for rights’ realization and expansion  

  • Mediation: Eloísa Machado (FGV DIREITO SP)
  • Debora Diniz (Instituto Anis): Abortion, reproductive rights and right to heath
  • Cathi Albertyn (University of the Witwatersrand): Equality, poverty and abortion in South Africa
  • Maria Abreu (UFRJ): Being a mother: from duty to power – abortion rights and maternity in Brazil
  • Marta Machado (FGV DIREITO SP): Abortion and legal mobilization in Brazil
  • Debate


Panel 5 11.00-12.30 pm: Maternity policies and impacts on women’s lives and health

  • Mediation: Camila de Jesus Mello Gonçalves (FGV DIREITO SP)
  • Raquel Marques (USP and Artemis): Obstetric violence: abuse without witnesses
  • Ana Gabriela Braga (UNESP): The exercise of motherhood by women in prison
  • Debate


12h30h-14h: Lunch


Panel 6 14.00-16.00 pm: Violence against women in Brazil: accessing the enforcement of Maria da Penha Law   

  • Mediation: Carmen Fullin (São Bernardo do Campo School of Law)
  • Wânia Pasinato (Center of Study on Violence, University of Sao Paulo – NEV): Domestic and family violence and the limits of the protection and promotion of women’s rights
  • Carmen Hein Campos (University of Vila Velha): Challenges to Maria da Penha Law implementation: the work of the parliamentary committee of inquiry
  • Concepción Pazo (Social Medicine Institute/UERJ): Impasses and nuances in the institutionalization of Maria da Penha Law: brief analysis of audiences on a Judgeship for Domestic and Family Violence against Women of a city in Rio de Janeiro
  • Denise Dora (Themis): Access to justice and the experience of “Promotoras Legais Populares” in Brazil
  • Debate


16.00-16.30 pm: Coffee break


Panel 7 16.30-18.00 pm: Femicide: an extreme form of violence against women

  • Mediation: Olívia Pessoa (Secretariat for the Judiciary Reform)
  • Maria Amélia Almeida Teles (Women’s Union and São Paulo State Truth Comission): Gender violence and civil-military dictatorship
  • Fernanda Matsuda/FGV DIREITO SP: Fatal domestic violence: the problem of intimate femicide in Brazil
  • Aline Yamamoto (Secretariat for Women’s Policies): The national policy on violence against women and femicide in Brazil
  • Debate


November 14th (Friday)

3rd Section: Women’s rights: justice system and public policies


Panel 8 9.00-11.00 am: Intersectionality, institutions and rights

  • Mediation: Natália Neris (FGV DIREITO SP)
  • Laura Hilly (Oxford Human Rights Hub): Standing at the Intersections: do the identities of judges matter?
  • Shreya Atrey (NALSAR Law University): Re-envisioning intersectionality: making discriminations law responds to multiple identities
  • Elsje Bonthuys (University of Witwatersrand): Discourses of gender and race in the appointment of women judges in South Africa
  • Meghan Campbell (University of Oxford): How has the CEDAW Committee used the State Reporting Process to remedy gendered poverty?
  • Debate


11.00-13.00 pm: Round table: Construction and evaluation of public policies on gender, race and poverty

  • Mediation: Adilson Moreira (FGV DIREITO SP)
  • Luiza Helena de Bairros, Minister of Secretariat for Policies of Promotion of Racial Equality
  • Aline Yamamoto, Representative of Secretariat for Women’s Policies
  • Fátima Rampin, Representative of Ministry of Social Security
  • Vanessa Vieira, Representative of Specialized Center for Combating Discrimination, Racism and Prejudice – Public Defense Office of the State of São Paulo
  • Daniela Skromov de Albuquerque, Representative of Specialized Center for Citizenship and Human Rights – Public Defense Office of the State of São Paulo
  • Denise Motta Dau, Secretary of Municipal Secretariat for Women’s Policies of the City of São Paulo
  • Ana Rita Souza Prata, Representative of the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Women’s Rights – Public Defense Office of the State of São Paulo
  • Angelica de Almeida, Representative of the Coordination for Women under Domestic Violence Situation of the Appeal Court of São Paulo
  • Silvia Chakian de Toledo Santos, Representative of the Special Action Group on Combating Domestic Violence – Public Prosecutor Office of the State of São Paulo


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