Brasilien: Eva Alterman Blay

Peace means freedom, being treated equally and not being controlled by anyone or anything.

— Eva Alterman Blay

Eva Alterman Blay (1937) is one of the first intellectuals to bring the gender issues into university. She faced, in the 1960s and 1970s, not only the military regime's censorship, but also prejudice, because other academics believed that it was a ‘minor issue.’ She created the Center for the Study of Women and Gender of the University of São Paulo (Nemge). She became a senator and presided the State Council for the Condition of Women of São Paulo.

The 1960s. Left-wing political factions were mobilizing themselves against the oppressive regime. Young academics and revolutionaries were breathing Marxist ideas. Eva Blay, who had just graduated in Social Sciences, chose a theme for her master's thesis: the female worker. “People laughed at me. Studying women's condition was perceived as something irrelevant and apolitical.” When she went into the factories, Eva realized that it was handled as an ‘unimportant’ issue indeed: women did not have any rights. “In a nail factory, I found a newborn baby inside a shoe box. The mother had no place to leave the baby.” From Eva Blay's thesis stemmed her first book: ‘I have no place to live–Study of the Worker's Villages in São Paulo.’ Her fight, solitary at first, grew as the feminist movement in the country developed. She participated in the creation of the Feminine Movement for Amnesty. The 1980s. As the country was going through the transition to democracy, Eva supported the creation of specific public policies for women. She presided the State Council for the Condition of Women of São Paulo, when she helped implementing a day-care program–there was only one in the city–and creating the first Police Precinct dedicated to assisting women. She called the government's attention to controversial issues such as equal pay and a system to stimulate for the candidacy of women for political office. She continued her career as a professor at the University of São Paulo, where she founded, in 1985, the Center for the Study of Women and Gender (Nemge). She became a senator in 1992; her term ended in 1995. As a professor, and scientific director of Nemge, she still does her utmost to fight for women's rights.

Núcleo de Estudos da Mulher e Relações Sociais de Gênero (Center for the Study of Women and Gender)