This year, for the first time in the history of Street carnival, the number of blocks that will parade in the city of São Paulo will surpass those of Rio de Janeiro. 796 blocks are expected on the city streets, according to the Municipal Department of Culture, against 731 in Rio.
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Street Carnival in São Paulo
Organizations from 31 blocks in São Paulo declared that they expected an audience of over 100,000 people. According to SPTuris, the public at the São Paulo street carnival jumped from 1.5 million revelers in 2015 to 14 million in 2019. In the same period, women increased their share in the total of revelers, going from 46.9% to 54 ,1%.
São Paulo shows a trend towards the resumption of public spaces during the festivities, and much of this is explained by the growing participation of women ”
Says Gisele Jordão, cultural producer and coordinator of Cinema and Audiovisual at ESPM São Paulo.
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According to Gisele Jordão, the change in the profile of street blocks and the advancement of feminist agendas contributed to this change in the scenario.
The environment in the blocks and on the streets is more favorable today for women than 10 years ago. They took on leadership roles and the organization of several blocks in São Paulo.
There are about 10 blocks created and led by women in the city. Two examples are o and o. Mariana Bastos, a filmmaker and one of the organizers of Pagu, says that initially the idea was to honor great Brazilian singers, but that the objective of the block changed course.
As the idea matured, we realized that Carnival also involved sensitive social issues for women, especially the issue of violence.
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The architect Lara Lima, one of the creators of the bloc, highlights violence and lack of representation as the main problems.
Carnival is still a very masculine environment and this is reflected in the organization of the blocks. Because of this structure, women end up not having a voice as they should. Many women came to us dissatisfied with the Carnival environment, including reporting various forms of abuse and harassment.
Despite the social problems that motivated the formation of women’s groups, both organizers say that there have been advances.
The increased participation of women in the blocs is a reflection of a broader social movement, which also contemplates the advancement of women in other areas previously dominated by men, such as politics and the corporate world.
Says Mariana Bastos
Lara Lima, in turn, says that the initiative has spread in the world of Carnival.
I have seen more and more women taking leadership positions at Carnival. Other blocks have invited us to participate in the organization and in decision-making. But there is still a long way to go.