Tens of thousands of Brazilian women are expected to take to the streets on Saturday, protesting what they see as the misogynist ways of one of Brazil’s most divisive presidential candidates in years: right-wing Congressman Jair Bolsonaro.
In a series of marches stretching from Manaus in the Amazon jungle to the megacity of Sao Paulo in the nation’s southeast, demonstrators organised under the hash tag #EleNao, or #NotHim, are pledging not to vote for the candidate who has made light of rape and called the gender pay gap justified.
Bolsonaro, a federal deputy from Rio de Janeiro, is the frontrunner in opinion polls, winning over many Brazilians with his ultra-hard-line stance on crime, unvarnished rhetoric, and a career that has been largely free of corruption accusations.
Yet he has also repelled many by commentary widely considered sexist, misogynist, and homophobic.
His relative lack of support among women could spell trouble for the candidate, a former army captain who has become the market favourite after embracing free-market policies on the campaign trail.
His biggest rival and likely opponent in a probable second round run-off is leftist candidate Fernando Haddad.
Former Sao Paulo mayor Haddad is running for the Workers Party, whose jailed founder, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was barred from the election by a corruption conviction. Despite widespread dislike of the Workers Party, Haddad has surged in polls with support from the working class and many voters who cannot stomach his right-wing opponent.
According to a recent survey by pollster Ibope, 18 percent of women plan to vote for Bolsonaro in the Oct. 7 first round, versus 36 percent of men. In an Oct. 28 second round scenario, among those who expressed a preference, women plumped 47 to 30 percent for Haddad over Bolsonaro, while among men 47 percent went for Bolsonaro, and 37 percent for Haddad.