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Brazil's Women Warriors

View on The Global Environmental Justice site

If Not Us Then Who? Film 6 (7:30)
Brazil’s Warrior Women: a movement for access to babassu oil

This is one of seven short films about sustainable living in the forests of Indonesia, Costa Rica and Brazil. Taken together, they tell a story of oppression, resistance, accomplishments, and confidence for the future.

Laura Miller, Applied ethicist and instructor, Southwestern Illinois College, St. Louis Community College, Fontbonne University, and Webster University

Please download the teacher's guide for maps, background information, suggested subjects, questions and activities.

"They are warriors because they have the courage to fight and say things."

In Brazil, women without land have been left to find ways to provide for themselves. 400,000 women harvest the nuts of the babassu palm, which is used to produce soap, oil, bread, and charcoal, providing them a modest living. Still, this way of life was not without threat, sometimes physical, by ranchers and farmers who sought to ban the women from their fields. In response, the babassu harvesters joined a women’s rights movement advocating their right to harvest babassu without fear. They have since established the “Free Babassu Law” in seven states, guaranteeing them free access to the forests. The passing of this law has now enabled women to provide for themselves and their families, and to craft long-term plans that were never possible before.


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