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Brazil's New Cabinet Has No Women, Drawing Social Media Backlash

Amid all the upheaval in Brazil, women have suddenly become much less prominent at the top levels of government, and this hasn't escaped the notice of social media.

The country's first female president, Dilma Rousseff, was suspended from her post after a marathon session in the Senate that concluded early Thursday. She now faces an impeachment trial that could last months.

The man replacing her on an interim basis, Michel Temer, who had been the vice president, quickly announced his Cabinet picks. There wasn't a woman among them.

In addition, there were no people of color in a country where a large portion of the population is of African descent or of mixed-race.

Social media in Brazil was quick to note it's the first time since 1979 there hasn't been a woman in the Cabinet.

The top of the page shows Temer's new Cabinet signing in, with the newspaper Jornal O Dia tweeting: "Temer's is first cabinet since military dictatorship without women."

The country's military dictatorship ended in 1985. Rousseff was a militant who fought against military rule and was jailed and tortured.

The tweet below, translated from Portuguese, reads:

"1 st Woman elected in Brazil

Tortured in the dictatorship

Defending democracy

Suffered a coup

By Men

New Government

No women."

And the tweet above reads:

"'Order and Progress' without blacks and women in the first step. Temer Government starts off with a lot of testosterone and little pigment."

And the tweet above, in a similar spirit, reads:

"No women, No blacks in Temer's cabinet. A big patriarchal house 100%. The Bridge to The Past has been opened. And that's where we are headed."

There was much more, including the following tweet, which says, "More than half of the Brazilian population didn't produce anyone capable of holding a ministry?"

During the impeachment debate, the president's supporters have pointed to sexist behavior. When some congressmen were voting to initiate the impeachment proceedings last month, dozens held up signs that read, "Bye, Dear."

And back in March, wiretapped conversations of senior officials included sexist comments run rampant, including some by Rousseff's predecessor as president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who belongs to the same party.

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Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.
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