Millions of women are coming together to lead the charge against right-wing Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, joining the #NotHim movement amid growing anger over his misogynistic and fascist policies that have led many to compare him to U.S. President Donald Trump.
As the country heads for an October 7 general election, women have mobilized to speak out against Bolsonaro's attacks on their rights and ever-larger crowds are expected at upcoming rallies to denounce him.
The candidate, who is leading recent polls with 26 percent of likely voters backing him in a crowded field, has proudly stated his opposition to equal pay for women and has expressed a desire to roll back women's right to abortion care. He's been condemned by the country's Superior Court of Justice for misogynist comments he made about Congresswoman Maria do Rosario, and has dismissed women as "idiots"—statements that many women, who make up 52 percent of Brazil's population, vow he will regret come election day.
"We need everyone to pull together to stop this disaster happening to our country," one woman, Maíra Motta, told The Guardian.
Nearly 50 percent of Brazilian women disapprove of Bolsonaro, with 17 percent reporting that they back him.
As Brazil-based journalist Glenn Greenwald noted earlier this month, lower-income women are a significantly contributing to the mobilization against Bolsonaro, with middle to high-income men among his biggest supporters.
Amazing: "if the Brazilian electorate were composed only of men" with middle-to-high incomes, the fascist Bolsonaro, "would be elected in the first round with more than 50% of the total votes." Only overwhelmingly opposition from poor women prevents this: https://t.co/sGJ7uevbHP
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 15, 2018
Within 24 hours of the creation of a Facebook group called "Women United Against Bolsonaro" last month, 600,000 women had joined. The group now has 2.5 million members who vow to organize and attend protests against the candidate.
"It is terrifying to think we might have a president who doesn't care about gender equality, who supports the idea that women should be paid less than men," Ludimilla Teixeira, the founder of the group, told The Guardian.
The group is aimed at defeating politicians who espouse "misogynist, prejudiced, and truly fascist" ideas, according to The Guardian. Eduardo Bolsonaro, who is running his father Jair's campaign while he recovers from being stabbed at a rally earlier this month, has dismissed the group as "fake news," borrowing U.S. President Donald Trump's favored method of shrugging off reports of his historically low approval ratings.
A journalist based in Rio de Janeiro posted on social media about demonstrations taking place on Saturday, while a number of rallies are planned for September 29.
“Women against Bolsonaro” protests to take place across Brazil tomorrow (but also in Paris, Canada, the US..) Considering Bolsonaro’s high rejection rate, esp among women, we can expect a big turn up. https://t.co/3t0jlSaekd
— Diane Jeantet (@dianejeantet) September 21, 2018
Thousands of women in Spain, Australia, Portugal, and the United Kingdom are also planning to demonstrate in solidarity, according to multiple Facebook event pages.
The hashtag #EleNao or #NotHim has also taken off on social media, with prominent entertainers and other public figures joining in the call to defeat Bolsonaro.
To all my fans in Brasil...it is important to be involved and let your voice be heard! Make sure you VOTE in the upcoming Presidential election and stand up for Equality, Respect and Love. I love u all. Te Amo #elenão #elenunca pic.twitter.com/x1HZAaE4qi
— Shangela (@itsSHANGELA) September 20, 2018
Checking out of Bahia & moving onto the fifth leg of our #JourneyToTheHeartOfBrazil. Met this 18-year-old student on the platform as I left. She’s so disillusioned with politics she thinks she might not vote at all. But she’s certain of one thing: #EleNao “Bolsonaro is trash.” pic.twitter.com/7DGDhm2XcQ
— Tom Phillips (@tomphillipsin) September 21, 2018
THANK U for showing support for this campaign!! as a brazilian i’m so afraid for what’s to come, i love my country and i’m so afraid of the regress we may be going into next month... i really wish people had the sense of what’s the meaning behind voting in this candidate #EleNão
— emmy winner claire foy (@joanafreak) September 21, 2018