World Bulletin / News Desk
The lower house of Brazil's twin-chamber Congress passed legislation late Wednesday which will reserve 20 percent of vacancies in public sector jobs to black and mixed-race candidates.
The quota for the new job vacancies, for positions both directly and indirectly linked to government administrative entities, will begin if the bill passes without further amendments through the upper house and is signed into law by the president.
The affirmative action is set to last for 10 years after which time it should be discontinued.
The 'urgent' bill was tabled in November, 2013.
The quota will apply to candidates who define themselves as “black” or “of mixed race” for jobs where there are three or more open positions.
Candidates for public sector jobs traditionally have to go through rounds of tests and interviews in a so-called “concurso público” (public contest) where vacancies are typically over-subscribed.
These include positions within state-run companies such as oil giant Petrobras, national banks and the postal service.
However, the quota is not valid on positions within the judiciary or the legislative assembly. Those sectors will have to introduce their own quotas if deemed necessary.
The government has argued the affirmative action policy is necessary due to the underrepresentation of black and mixed-race people in the public sector in Brazil.
Congresswoman and race equality activist Benedita da Silva, from the ruling Workers Party (PT), was quoted by Globo News as saying that black people, like herself, had lived with what she labelled “non-black quotas” as “our children didn't go to school or university.”
Brazil approved a bill introducing quotas for places in the country's prestigious federal universities in 2012, with 50 percent of spots reserved for state school students from poorer families and to those of black, mixed-race and indigenous backgrounds.
A previous version of the new jobs quota bill also included those of indigenous race, but this provision did not make the final draft by deputies. The original quota was also 30 percent, but was reduced to 20 percent to ensure swift passage through the lower house.
Some lawmakers have dismissed the new quotas as unfair now that Brazil provides greater opportunities for black and mixed-race students through university quotas and believe a level playing field should follow for graduate careers.
But a number of pro-quota deputies have likened the affirmative action to policies seen in the United States after the Second World War, which they argue empowered disadvantaged sections of the population.
Brazil is often cited as the biggest 'African nation' outside of Africa. In the 2010 census of just over 190 million people, some 43 percent of Brazilians identified themselves as “mixed-race” and 7.6 percent as “black” nationwide.Last Mod: 28 Mart 2014, 11:03