Note from BW of Brazil: Although one would never know it by consistent stereotypical representations in the media that restrict them to the kitchen or the bedroom, there are numerous black women making strides in various professional areas. We’ve seen civil engineers and architects, civil construction and design, deans of federal universities, doctors of physics and a number of congresswomen, mayors and a secretary of justice. Today, we bring to you a woman who has made a name for herself in the world Economic Journalism.
The girl from Irajá in Rio, that became a reference in economic journalism
By Rafael Carneiro da Cunha
“When you are a young, black and born in the suburbs, there are some professions that are predefined by society,” said Flávia Oliveira, 45, a columnist for the O Globo newspaper and economics commentator of the Estúdio I program of Globo News, about the difficulties she faced prior to becoming a journalist.
“My mother had a friend who always suggested jobs for me. One day she told me to apply for ticket vendor of the subway. I was furious! This has a cruel side, despite the good intentions. My dream was to get into college! Thank goodness I had the full support of my mother.”
An only daughter, Flávia grew and spent much of her life in Irajá, in the north zone of Rio de Janeiro. Her father left home when she was very small and so was created in an apartment, BNH, only by her mother, a Bahian-born woman from the city of Cachoeira. As a child, she spent more time playing in the street than at home. She rang the bell of her neighbors and ran off, went to the soccer field near her apartment to watch the boys play ball … “It was a delight!”
Flávia always received encouragement regarding studies. As a teenager, she began to attend the Escola Nacional de Ciência e Estatística (National School of Science and Statistics), where she studied for all of high school. It was then that the young woman began to dream of a college course, however deciding which career path to follow was not an easy task, because she had no contact with many professions. At first, she thought of taking the vestibular (entrance exam) for history or psychology, but alerted by a friend who knew her vocation for communication, she was gradually identifying with journalism.
In last Friday (July 3rd), the journalist attended the 10º Congresso Internacional de Jornalismo Investigativo (10th International Congress on Investigative Journalism), which discussed the racial issue in the profession (Photo: Rafael Carneiro da Cunha/Blog Mural)
The first time, she went to Universidade Gama Filho (Gama Filho University), but didn’t take course because she couldn’t afford them. Her mother then enrolled her in a preparatory course and in the second attempt, she managed to get into Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF or Federal Fluminense University). “At that time there was a natural pressure where I lived for young people of 17, 18 years to begin working early to help at home, but my mother had sensitivity. Of course, if I had brothers, my story would be different.” Today, only Flávia and a cousin have university degrees in the family.
In 1992, she had his first contact with a newspaper office, when she was called to work at Jornal do Commercio. In 1994, she joined the editor of economics O Globo and in 2007 also went to work at Globo News. “My interest in numbers came since high school.” Today, Flávia speaks of economy in a simple, easy to understand way and aimed at achieving the most varied audiences.
Frequently the journalist discusses the daily lives of carioca (Rio) communities in economic terms, and with some of the issues she seeks on the local news. “Community vehicles are very important to form an identity, pressing the government and the construction of a citizenship. They are complementary to the mass media, which present the facts more widely, so don’t replace them. But without a doubt, the community media is an empowerment tool and fundamental for democracy.”
Renê Silva, 20, is one of her contacts in the Complexo do Alemão, of north zone Rio. He is editor of the Voz da Comunidade (Voice of the Community). “I devised once for Negócios & Cia (Business & Company) column a special about Christmas in Rio’s communities. I hired three young people─ ─ Silva was one of them, to write the reports. In Alemão, for example, the article was on the strong commerce of meat at this time of year, because Christmas there always ends up with a churrasco (barbecue),” she recalls.
Flávia no longer lives on the outskirts of Rio, but, when she can, she doesn’t fail to visit the place where she spent her childhood and adolescence. In 1992, when she got married, the journalist moved from Irajá to Meier and just before her daughter Isabela was born, to Tijuca, both in the north zone. Currently, she lives with her second husband in Lagoa, in the south zone of the city. “My mother lived in Irajá until just before she passed away four years ago, but I have a godmother and goddaughter who still live in the neighborhood. Whenever possible I go back there.”
Source: Rafael Carneiro da Cunha