Brazil’s women’s minister on Friday claimed that teaching boys and girls gender equality encourages domestic violence, AFP reported. Damares Alves, who heads the ministry for women, families and human rights, said boys have to be taught that girls are physically different and “need to be loved”.
“Boys need to understand that girls are equal in terms of rights and opportunities, but are different as they are women and they need to be loved and respected as women,” she said. “If they think that boys and girls are equal, as was preached in the past by some ‘ideologies’, boys will think ‘since girls are equal, they can handle being hit’.”
Alves, who is also an evangelical preacher and was appointed by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, was speaking at a campaign in Brasilia to combat violence against women as part of International Women’s Day on March 8. She is one of just two women out of 22 ministers in Bolsonaro’s Cabinet.
Alves said the new initiative would teach young boys to respect women by “bringing flowers to girls” or “opening a car door for women”. She said that boys would also be taught that girls “are different physically and need to be loved”.
Alves said as part of the campaign against domestic abuse, beauty professionals will be trained to spot signs of domestic violence. “We are going to train manicurists when they are doing a woman’s nails to look for marks on her arms or if she’s trembling a lot,” said Alves. “We will train the hairdressers, so that when they lift the hair to brush it they check for marks.”
According to the public security forum NGO, 4,539 women were murdered in Brazil in 2017. Of this, 1,133 of the killings were considered femicide, or a murder on account of gender.