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Women's Empowerment and Disempowerment in Brazil: The Rise and Fall of President Dilma Rousseff, Pedro A. G. dos Santos and Farida Jalalzai

Reviewed by Lorraine Bayard De Volo

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In this exceptionally well-executed study of Brazil's first woman president, Dilma Rousseff (2011–2016), Pedro A.G. dos Santos and Farida Jalalzai pursue two questions: to what extent did Rousseff empower women politically, and how did gender influence her election, leadership, and impeachment? Through extensive participant observation and open-ended interviews, plus analysis of survey data and archival documents, they make important contributions to the literature on women national leaders and violence against women in politics (VAWP). They conclude that although women presidents can enhance women's political empowerment, given the higher levels of scrutiny and punishment that they attract, such empowerment can be readily undone (p. 140).

Rousseff enjoyed record-high approval in her first term, yet two years after reelection, she was impeached. In tracking Rousseff's rise and fall, this book is a study of misogyny wielded as a powerful political weapon, deftly illustrating how women leaders can pay a steeper price for political transgressions and economic downturns than their male counterparts. As the authors argue, misogynistic practices target specific women—those perceived to be entering an arena properly dominated by men and thus not abiding by traditional gender roles—while also broadcasting a warning to women as a whole abou

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