What inequality looks like
Although currently undergoing a period of economic setback and political crisis, Brazil has experienced remarkable prosperity and growth in the past two decades. The world’s seventh-largest economy, the country is rich in natural resources and in cultural and environmental diversity. Since Brazil’s democratization in the 1980s, it has built a vibrant democracy based on a rights-oriented constitution.
Brazil is increasingly seen as a key player on the world stage, wielding influence in the global economy and international relations. It has made impressive social and economic gains through policies designed to combat racial and gender discrimination and move its people out of poverty.
But those gains must not be taken for granted. Deeper changes are needed to ensure equity and opportunity for all the country's people—and to maintain and deepen democracy, transparency, and participation. Brazil still ranks among the 20 most unequal countries in the world: Much of its wealth remains highly concentrated, while millions remain mired in poverty. Discrimination based on gender, race, or sexuality continues to limit the full inclusion of many groups—particularly Afro-Brazilians, who constitute more than 53 percent of the population—in the key institutions of society. Crime and violence kills thousands of black and indigenous Brazilians every year, and land ownership remains largely in the hands of the rich and powerful.
Confronting exclusion, expanding justice
Brazil’s increased global prominence and wealth have created real opportunities for positive change—and a clear appetite for it. A generation of young Brazilians who have grown up in an era of democracy and economic growth are lifting up their voices to demand accountability, transparency, and respect for rights. Creatively using new technologies in an increasingly networked society, they are determined to be heard.
Brazil needs stronger policies to ensure that all people benefit from the country’s abundance. All Brazilians must be able to participate in creating a stronger democracy, one in which underrepresented groups see their rights protected and the advantages of progress are available to all.