Chicas Investigative: three-day meeting on Inclusion, Citizenship and Gender in Brazil.

In 2018, Chicas Poderosas has begun promoting spaces related to investigative-journalism practices and fact-checking methodologies. Therefore, following the steps of the chapter in Colombia and its project El Poder de Elegir, we decided to repeat the same experience in Brazil. That is how we organized a three-day meeting on Inclusion, Citizenship and Gender.

Thanks to the support of Google News Lab, you can access all the talks of day one and day two here.

As part of the Investigative Program in Sao Paulo, we went on to recognize failure as a source of constructive activity and creativity in the hands of Yael Steiner. We were amazed by the use of bots as a form of pedagogy and activism, in the words of Debora Albu. And we discovered platforms for collaborative fact-checking with the Meedan team.

“People have to value failures because they can be transformed into creative moments.
Walker, there is no path, the path is made by stumble”, said Yael Steiner in her speech to emphasize that great stories are made up of great failures. This Brazilian Uruguayan has 20 years of experience as a cultural entrepreneur and filmmaker. For almost an hour, Yael forgot to talk about her experience, to give space to the participants, to let everyone talk about their failure stories. This exercise was learned from Fuck Up Nights, a space where it’s not just success that is discussed, but also the wrong steps taken to reach that goal.

Yael Steiner is Brazilian Uruguayan and has 20 years of experience as a cultural entrepreneur and filmmaker. / Photograph: Sofia Perpetua.

Turning to a more technical topic, Deborah Albu and the Meedan team were in charge of taking participants through technological developments that contribute to the verification of data. Albu spoke about the importance of understanding how many companies create false profiles and robots based on demands from digital influencers to generate debate in social networks. Therefore, in response, she and her team created Pegabot, an online platform where anyone can consult on a specific profile and see if there is a probability that it is a bot. “The idea is to be able to analyze that profile, the followers of that profile and understand the reason for that profile to be a bot. It’s completely experimental,” Deborah explained. She also mention Beta, the feminist bot created in Brazil to keep the awareness and activism about gender topics in politics.

For its part, the Meedan team in Brazil, made up of developers Daniela Feitosa and Caio Almeida, explained the use and operation of Check, a platform that allows the structuring the information for the fact-checking process and customizes it according to the needs of each team.

Clarissa works with research and development of computer tools that use and interpret human language. She’s also Feminista Gorda, a project of feminist activism about the body. / Photograph: Sofia Perpetua

As part of the event, we put themes such as gordofobia, feminism and politics on the table. “Self-esteem is a construction and it’s a very slow construction. First, I decided that I was going to empower myself and then, grain by grain, have a good therapist because nobody is totally empowered. I have my insecurities. There is no human being who does not have insecurities,” Clarisa Xavier said during the conference. In addition to working with research and the development of computer tools that use and interpret human language, Clarisa is the organizer and mediator of Leia Mulheres Porto Alegre and founder of Feminista Gorda, a project of feminist activism about the body.

Hours later, the writer and creator of the blog “Agora é Que São Elas, Antonia Pellegrino, asked herself in her speech: How can one be satisfied with a representative democracy that does not represent 52% of the population? As part of her presentation, Pellegrino, who is known for her writings and several scripts like the one in Bruna Surfistinha film, was emphatic about mentioning that women are everywhere except in places of power. “When they rises to the highest positions, women see that they have less. In institutional politics, the capacity to hold onto power is even somewhat scary,” she said.

As mentioned, Brazil continues to hold the position of No. 152 in rankings of female representation in government. In addition, he added that it is necessary to institutionalize other practices either in the public or private power. “We are more afraid and there are no bodies that can protect a woman who makes a complaint. You do it here, and it’s a massacre. Life ends. I think you have to keep pushing. I think one cannot stop,” she concluded.

Antonia Pellegrino, the writer and creator of the blog “Agora é Que São Elas”. / Photograph: Sofia Perpetua

The day was spent in the company of the incredible Cris Bartis, co-founder of Mamilos Podcast, one of the most recognized podcasts in Brazil for its debate on controversial issues; the innovation of Cecilia Olliveira and her Fogo Cruzado project on violence in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and the vision of Daiene Mendesfounder of the Favelê project that encourages reading.

Before she and Juliana Wallauer started Mamilos, Bartis served 10 years as executive director. In 2014, there was no podcast directed by women. Their second program was about abortion because they wanted to attract the audience with controversial issues. And so, interesting comments began to come.

The look of Mamilos is investigative and curious. They have as a mantra that it is part of their assumption that no one is malicious, that people are intelligent and know how to converse. “Our audience has always been mostly male. We received a lot of emails from men saying that listening to a woman on a podcast is so strange, but we are giving her a chance”, she said.

Speaking of innovating, we also arrived at the crossed Fogo Cruzado platform of Cecilia Olliveira, who has been interested in centralizing the number of shots taken of the city, information that did not previously exist. “It took the press more than 100 days of shooting to realize the problem”, said Ollivieira. As part of the process and the development of this project, they have asked how to deal with this type of information without reinforcing criminality. Learn more about Crossed Fogo here:

“If you search on Google about Favela Complexo Alemao you will find: people who scream a lot, people who do not know how to behave, people who know how to behave and who should not be in that part. Could it be that the favela [a so-called poor, ghetto area of Brazil] is just that? Is it really the definition of a favela? Could it be that I am the girl who only likes funk? You do not need to talk much, just say what place they come from and people will put you in the place they think you are destined for. The place of violence”, explained Daiene.

For her, journalism has been a fundamental tool to begin to combat the hegemonic media. She wants to start communicating about the favela as a territory of creative transformation and as a space of power. “When they ask me why I say journalism, it’s because I am part of the generation that understands the way the media narrate about the favela, with a hot editorial line that can bring engagement, and it is even harder to fight against that. But within the favela, there are also initiatives and people who have decided to dispute that narrative and take action,” she said.

Learn more about the projects Colectivo Papo Reto, Voz das Comunidades and Favel Art.

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