The Congresswoman




fit (3) congress feel/felt/felt
bother sense (2) begin/began/begun
effort mark (3) tournament
crime pregnant on the other hand
neglect violence opportunity
re-elect view (3) win/won/won
provide campaign run/ran/run (3)
vote candidate chose/choose/chosen
elect equality give/gave/given
wish area (3) responsible
goal strategic scholarship
grill (2) sack (2) encourage
worry capacity violent (2)
deal (2) glorious journey (2)
regime far-right impact (2)
footage right (5) think/thought/thought
decide bridge (2) matter (2)
design opinion combat (2)
bias clear (2) make up (2)
reform pension controversial
sure criticism offensive (2)
go viral interrupt harassment
face (2) complex tell/told/told






Tabata Amaral: Fitting in Between

Every day in Congress, it feels to me that it bothers people to see women in politics. I get asked if I am the daughter of someone important, if I am married, because it makes no sense to many people that I have come here on my own effort and capacity.

I had a reality marked by violence, a reality of going to school and seeing dead people on the street, of losing fifteen-year old friends to organized crime, to drugs.

I lost my father to drugs at the age of thirty-nine (39).

Most of my friends didn’t finish high school, didn’t go to college. The girls got pregnant very early.

But on the other hand, I had educational opportunities that no-one in my community had.

It began with a math tournament. I won scholarships. I went to college at the best university in the world in the United States.

To fit both worlds together is very complex.

In 2018, aged twenty-four (24), Tabata ran for Congress campaigning for better education in Brazil.

When you know that you had opportunities that no-one else had, for me, the only thing you can do is ask yourself what answer will you give to inequality.

And the answer I chose to give was education.

Tabata won a seat with over 260,000 votes the sixth most votes out of seventy (70) elected candidates. She became one of the youngest congresswomen in Brazil’s history.

You can’t provide us with a PowerPoint with two or three wishes for each area of education. Where are the projects? Where are the goals? Who are the people responsible for them?

This is not strategic planning.

This footage of Tabata grilling the education minister went viral. Ricardo Velez was later sacked.

It worries me to hear all these violent speeches, and congresspeople neglecting important issues, and just thinking about being re-elected.

Congressman: “We can learn how to deal with violence from the glorious years of the military regime.”

While the government is far-right, Tabata is almost a bridge between the left and right in Brazil.

My world view is completely different from that of Bolsonaro’s government. That’s part of democracy, it happens.

But one shouldn’t govern thinking that facts don’t matter. We can’t have public policies that impact millions of people being decided by only one or two people.

Especially when we design policies to combat violence against women, if you make decisions based on your bias and your opinion, you may negatively impact people’s lives.

Women make up only fifteen percent (15%) of the Brazilian Congress, but has also faced criticism for her vote on a controversial pension reform bill.

People were sure that Tabata, being a young woman, was doing so because someone said she should.

That is very offensive.

There is something that encourages me a lot here, while we face all kinds of harassment, while we hear joke and are interrupted, while they tell you that you are not able to do things.

It has become very clear to me that it’s been only a hundred (100) years since women can vote and be elected. And that I’m here because many women worked so that I could do so, but that we still have a big journey ahead of us.

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City Council. Women are regarded and treated as regular, normal members of Brazil’s Congress. Is this true or false?

Did Tabata Amaral grow up in an upper-middle class environment?

State Senate.
All of her friends and classmates attended university and became successful doctors, lawyers, professionals and business people. Is this right or wrong?

Legislature, Congress, Senate.
Was Tabata able to be elected to the Brazilian Congress because of family ties and connections? What was her story?

Is she a strong proponent of market economics, free trade, lower taxes and deregulation? Is she fighting for these?

Prime Minister.
According to her, are politicians dedicated to serving the people?

Is there complete equality in Brazil? Is everyone equal with equal opportunities?


Secretary of State, Foreign Minister.
Who are some popular ministers, congress persons, senators, or members of parliament in your country? Who are some charismatic politicians?

Treasury Secretary, Ministry of Finance.
Are there “rags to riches” stories? What are some success stories? Who has gone from poverty to success and prosperity?

Secretary of Education.
There is complete equality between men and women in society. What do you think?

Press Secretary.
What are some problems in government and society? How can they be solved?

Minister of Transportation.
I would like to run for office and be a congressperson or member of parliament (MP).

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