This profile was prepared when Ana Veloso was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Despite significant achievements by the feminist movement in recent years, women in Brazil’s poor and largely rural Northeast continue to face rampant discrimination. Through year-long training and strategy sessions, Ana helps women in the region identify subtle forms of discrimination, and teaches them to communicate the feminist agenda as they go about their daily lives. Her unique curriculum blends the academic with the practical, taking into account history, philosophy, and the stories of everyday women. Over the course of the year, she provides participants with the information, training, and communication tools they need to confront political imbalances and common expressions of gender discrimination. Every participant then agrees to offer the training program, becoming multipliers in their communities and networks. Her second aim is to diversify the feminist movement. By working with representatives from the lesbian, Black, and feminist movements, she is uniting the efforts of Brazil’s numerous minority women’s groups under a common voice. Ana believes that every issue is a “women's issue,” and that every woman, regardless of profession, culture, or race, can be a voice for feminism. She is thus transforming the women’s movement in Brazil from one dominated by a particular class and style, to one with universal power and appeal.