Great Brazilian women!

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Brazil is internationally recognized for its carnival, football, beautiful and exotic landscapes and the women. The latter, however, are always deployed mainly in the beach and carnival environments. Get to know three women in the artistic and musical fields, and finally, the most important political character in our country.


Beginning with film, theater and television, Fernanda Montenegro is known by critics and the public as one of the greatest Brazilian actresses of all fields in which she performs. The actress, who completed 83 years in October with more than sixty-year career, began her vocation acting in the theater in 1950. On television, she was the first contributor to be hired for the TV Tupi in Rio de Janeiro, a year after her debut in the theater. She received many awards during her career, and was the only Brazilian actress ever nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Actress for the movie Central Station, and despite not winning the statuette, she was awarded at the Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear for best actress in this movie in 1998. That same year, Fernanda Montenegro was hallowed with the highest honor that one can receive from the Brazilian president, the National Order of Merit Grand Cross, by recognition of the outstanding work in performing arts in Brazil.


The second notable Brazilian woman is Chiquinha Gonzaga: pianist, composer and conductor, the greatest female personality in the history of Brazilian popular music. The author of the first carnival song “Ô Abre Alas” in 1899, was also the first pianist of choro, and the first woman to conduct an orchestra in Brazil. Chiquinha Gonzaga undertook large social causes of her time, getting involved in Republican campaign and playing a role as one of the most important personalities in the abolitionist campaign in the country. In 1912, after living in Portugal for three years, contributed to the popular theater by performing her greatest theatrical success, Forrobodó. A year later, when asked by the President of Brazil to play in the presidential residence, there were strong criticisms to the government due to promoting music whose origins were in the vulgar dances, according to the conception of the social aristocratic elite. In 1917, she led the founding of the Brazilian Society of Authors, pioneer in the collection and protection of copyrights. At age of 85, she wrote her last sheet music and passed away almost two years later. This year, the anniversary date of Chiquinha Gonzaga was established as a National Day of Brazilian Popular Music by the current president.


Who is the third female figure represented here. In October of 2010, Dilma Rousseff was the first woman elected president of Brazil, taking possession on the first day of the following year. After the 1964 Brazilian Coup d’état, she joined left-wing and Marxist urban guerrilla groups that supported the idea of armed struggle against the imposed military dictatorship. Dilma joined the National Liberation Command (NLC), which aimed to install a socialist state in the country, and Palmares Armed Revolutionary Vanguard, which was created by the merger of NLC with another socialist organization. She was jailed for three years and suffered torture by organizations that controlled the political and social movements opposed to the dictatorship. During Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva government, she took over as head of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and later, as the Chief of Staff of Brazil. In 2011, she was included in the list of 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, and was considered the third most powerful woman on the planet and the 22nd most powerful person in the world by Forbes list. In her first government quarter, she surpassed the popularity of Lula, reaching 48% of government approval.

Do you know these Brazilian women? Do you know any other Brazilian female personality in these fields?

[Português]

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