Brasilien: Heloneida Studart

My thirst for justice is what defines me. Peace is a harmonious coexistence between those who are different, with the guarantee of social justice and the respect of individual freedom.

— Heloneida Studart

Heloneida Studart (1932) is on her fourth mandate as state representative. She was elected for the first time in 1978, with 60,000 votes, and has always fought for the country's democratization. In 1975, she founded the Brazilian Woman Center. She worked side by side with feminists fighting for amnesty and participated on the creation of the State Council for Female Rights. She has been making her mandates a space for the defense of human rights.

Thanks to her father, a revolutionary abolitionist (one who fought for the abolition of slavery), the young Heloneida did not cut off her relationship with her family when she was 18 and moved from her hometown, Fortaleza, to Rio. She grew up listening to her aunt saying that “women do not have the right to want anything.” No women from her family had ever worked when she decided to move to Rio willing to publish her first romance novel and to pursue a career as a writer. As the granddaughter of Baron Studart and the only girl in a family of three brothers, Heloneida rejected the traditional education she received in the Northeast. Heloneida Studart's first job in Rio was to run a traveling library that took books, movies and lectures to working-class neighborhoods. This experience led her closer to left-wing political groups and stimulated her to found the Union of Cultural Entities, of which she was president until 1969, when she was arrested by the military dictatorship, installed in Brazil in 1964. During the 1970s, she worked as the editor of ‘Manchete magazine.’ In 1989, she joined the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Labor Party). As a journalist, she also participated in the International Woman's Congress that took place in Mexico, in 1975. “All the women had a common complaint: male oppression,” she remembers. When she returned to Brazil, Heloneida Studart helped to found the Brazilian Woman Center. She is a romance novel writer and has 12 published books, such as the essay ‘Mulher Objeto de Cama e Mesa’ (Woman: object of bed and table). Heloneida is also a well-known playwright. ‘Homem não entra’ (Men not allowed) was her play, and it was on for five years, defending ideals of progress and female promotion. “Nowadays, feminist ideals are totally disseminated.”

Asamblea Legislativa de Río de Janeiro