Senado Federal do Brasil
The world is rapidly changing, and institutions must adapt to meet new challenges. An innovative legislative house is one that understands the challenges of its time and innovates accordingly. In this essay, we explore the Brazilian Federal Senate’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, and its commitment to socio-environmental policies.
The Brazilian Federal Senate during the Pandemic
The global coronavirus pandemic forced institutions to innovate. In the case of the Brazilian Federal Senate, they quickly moved to remote working, providing necessary resources for public servants to continue working and interacting. They also innovated in the way they conducted sessions, utilizing virtual platforms and creating a “bunker” for deliberations.
Diversity and Inclusion
An innovative legislative house must also innovate in terms of values. The Brazilian Senate has focused on promoting diversity and inclusion, particularly in the areas of gender and race equality, accessibility, and socio-environmental policies. The Senate is the first public institution in Brazil to have a gender and race equality plan, outlining goals and objectives for a 24-month period.
The Senate has made significant progress in promoting gender equality, tripling the number of women in leadership positions from 12% to 36%. Initiatives such as the “Mãe Nutriz” plan, which allows women to have a reduced workload without a pay cut until their child is 24 months old, and a program that reserves 2% of outsourcing vacancies for women in economic vulnerability due to domestic violence, demonstrate the Senate’s commitment to empowering women.
Addressing racial inequality is another crucial aspect of diversity and inclusion. In response to the structural racism present in Brazil, the Senate created a working group to focus on anti-racist initiatives. Through annual agendas and internal communications, the Senate highlights the contributions of black Brazilians, both past and present, and seeks to improve representation of black public servants.
Accessibility and Inclusion for People with Disabilities
Recognizing the importance of accessibility for people with disabilities, the Senate has made efforts to ensure both physical and virtual environments are inclusive. TV Senado, the Senate’s television channel, includes a window for Brazilian Sign Language (Libras), and the Senate operates the only public printing company that prints in Braille.
Environmental considerations are essential for a forward-thinking legislative house. The Brazilian Senate has implemented policies to encourage electric cars, waste management, and the reduction of power and water usage. They have also focused on education and awareness, promoting sustainable practices among employees and in other public agencies.
In 2021, the Senate created a legislative network for gender and race equality, facilitating the exchange of information and promoting collaborative efforts with other bodies of the Federal Legislative, Legislative Assemblies, and City Councils. This network allows for shared learning and growth, ultimately benefiting society as a whole.
The Brazilian Federal Senate’s innovative response to the challenges of the pandemic, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and dedication to socio-environmental policies demonstrate its role as a leader among legislative houses. By setting an example and collaborating with other institutions, the Senate is fulfilling its obligation to serve the people and foster positive change in society. With continued innovation and adaptation, legislative houses like the Brazilian Federal Senate will be better equipped to address the ever-evolving challenges of the modern world.
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