Elza Berquó – Brazil

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

In 1969, Elza Berquó (1931) had to interrupt a brilliant career as a university professor because of the military regime. She was invited to work abroad, but she did not leave Brazil. The reason that made her stay is her belief in scientific knowledge as an important instrument against social injustice. Author of major researches on exclusion and population inequality, she provides the means for social movements and governmental entities to act. Demographer, PhD in Biostatistics (Columbia University, New York), Elza Berquó was returning from a trip when she heard, on the radio, her name on a list of professors whose licenses had been revoked by the military dictatorship. “I was a professor at the School of Public Health in the University of São Paulo, and was forced to retire. It was a tragedy, it was my life” … (1000peacewomen 1/2).

Elza Berquó, professora titular aposentada da Faculdade de Saúde Pública da USP, é presidente da Comissão Nacional de População e Desenvolvimento (CNPD), coordenadora do Programa de Saúde Reprodutiva e Sexualidade do Nepo-Unicamp, membro do Conselho Técnico do IBGE, membro da Academia Brasileira de Ciências e coordenadora da Área de População e Sociedade do Cebrap. Sua produção científica nos últimos anos cobre as áreas da demografia da família, da mulher e da população negra. (CEM).

… Under the firm and inspirational leadership of the demographer Elza Berquó, this second survey renewed and expanded the proposition of the previous study to cover a vast range of essential questions relating to sexual and reproductive health. It also included topics like domestic violence and the abuse of alcohol and other psychoactive substances, which were explored in detail for the first time within the sphere of the present survey. It was backed by an advisory committee of specialists within the fields of statistics, epidemiology and sexual and reproductive health involving professors and researchers from the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ) and Fundação Getúlio Vargas São Paulo (FGV-SP) … (full text, June 2008).


Elza Berquó – Brazil

She works for the Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento CEBRAP – (and in english: the Brazilian Center for Planning and Analysis / see its Homepage).

She says: “Peace is the respect for every human being, regardless of race, religion and political beliefs”. (1000peacewomen).

… Chair Chowdhury and Brazilian Elza Berquo discuss Brazil’s proposal, Brazilian proposal, which called for review of laws containing punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortion, and urging health systems to train and equip health service providers and take other measures to seek to ensure that abortion is safe and accessible in circumstances where abortion is not against the law … (full text).

How has Brazil’s decline in fertility affected women’s lives? In a series of papers, Brazilian women’s health advocates examine the impact of family planning on women’s empowerment. The papers include discussions of: AIDS and reproductive health, motherhood and women’s participation in the work force, contraceptive practices and abortion, violence against women, and children’s education and gender. Summaries of the papers are presented here in English … (full text).

Find her and her publications on Brazil’s WHO commissioners;on scientific commons; on USP; photos on abep.org.br; on BiomedExperts; on BookFinder.com; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

Read in portugese language:

  • Todos os caminhos levam à urbe, 16 de abril de 2008;
  • Academia Brasileira de Ciencias;
  • Pensata, para demógrafa, programa é desnecessário porque a taxa de crescimento populacional está caindo, 26.1.2004; http://www.coleguinhas.jor.br/pensata/2004_01_25_pensata_arquivos.html
  • discursos de abertura do V encontró;
  • Sexo e Vida – Panorama da Saude Reprodutiva no Brasil, Elza Berquo, 2003;
  • and finally: O movimento negro no Brasil ainda não tinha há 20 anos o mesmo peso político que tem hoje, quando a fundadora do Núcleo de Estudos de População (Nepo) da Unicamp, professora Elza Berquó, explanou sobre as pesquisas que propunha e apresentou as colaboradoras Estela María García de Pinto Cunha e Alícia Marta Bercovich, ambas argentinas, durante encontro da SBPC. “Como uma pesquisadora branca, juntamente com duas ‘gringas’, pretende estudar a população negra, se isto deve ser de nossa alçada?”, questionou uma pessoa negra na platéia. A resposta de Elza Berquó foi convincente: “Porque o Brasil ainda não tem demógrafos negros.Vamos torcer para que tenha, mas a demografia pode oferecer elementos importantes para a luta de vocês” … (full text).

… The key objective of the seminar was to explore the linkages between reproductive health and gender inequalities in a society at three levels: at the individual and household levels, at the societal level to understand the impact of structural transformations and at the political level to understand how reproductive rights are defined and decisions on service delivery are made. This is particularly important in an era of global economic crisis affecting both donor and recipient countries hence demanding that local communities be sufficiently empowered to develop their own priorities free of external pressures. In the opening ceremony, participants were welcomed by Maria Coleta de Oliveira, Population Studies Center at the university of Campinas, Brazil, Elza Berquo, also of the Population Studies Center at the university of Campinas, Brazil, and Axel Mundigo, co-chair of the Committee on Reproductive Health. The major topics in this seminar covered the global and country perspectives on reproductive health, household dynamics and gender issues, demographic implications, gender ideologies and reproductive health services and structural transformations and health care systems in Africa with respect to reproductive health issues … (full long text).

1000peacewomen 2/2: … On that same year, 1969, Elza and other well-known and persecuted academics founded the Brazilian Center for Planning and Analysis (Cebrap), a non profitable organization, which aims to analyze the social reality of Brazil. They started to research and publish, and also to disturb the oppressive regime. When they published the book “São Paulo, Crescimento e Pobreza” (São Paulo, Growth and Poverty), showing the extraordinarily severe social inequality of the greatest Brazilian metropolis, a bomb was thrown into Cebrap. They did not give up.

Elza coordinates hundreds of researches about family structure, fecundity, population aging, reproductive health and sexual rights that were published in Brazil and abroad. She published the book “Jovens Acontecendo na Trilha das Políticas Públicas” (Young People on the Track of Public Policies) and coordinated the video “Rompendo o Silêncio: Desconstruindo o Racismo nas Escolas” (Breaking the Silence: Demolishing Racism in Schools). Aside from Cebrap, in 1982, on the country’s transition to democracy, Elza founded the Nucleus of Population Studies of the University of Campinas (Nepo/Unicamp), where she currently coordinates the Reproductive Health and Sexuality Program. In 12 years, the Program has educated countless professionals from the entire country. In 1991, Elza also helped drawing up the Citizenship and Reproduction Committee (CCR), a place for debates and seminars.

During that same year, she created, in partnership with the Mac Arthur Foundation, the first program for Afro-Brazilian researchers in Brazil.

Elza Berquó plays an important role internationally as a member of official Brazilian delegations on many UN population and gender conferences: International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994); World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995); and the Cairo + 5 International Conference (New York, 1999). (on 1000peacewomen).


The Casa Elza Berquo, from en.wikipedia’s João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Brazil;

the Google download book: Arquitetura & Urbanismo, 2006, 390 pages;

portal Afro.com;

The SciELO Social Sciences English Edition;

Population Index on the Web.

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