The Empregadas and the Epidemic COVID-19 Lays Bare Brazil’s Deep Societal Divide

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting Brazil harder than most other countries, in part because social inequality is so massive. Armies of maids commute between favela slums and middle-class neighborhoods. Taking a closer look at them tells a lot about the country.
A favela in Rio: The top 10 percent of society accounts for 55 percent of all income, but half of all citizens live on a mere 66 euros a month.

A favela in Rio: The top 10 percent of society accounts for 55 percent of all income, but half of all citizens live on a mere 66 euros a month.

LEONARDO CARRATO / VII Mentor Program
DER SPIEGEL 22/2020

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The empregadas are generally dark-skinned Brazilian women. Slavery in Brazil wasn't just the domain of the elite -- slaves were kept by large segments of society.

The empregadas are generally dark-skinned Brazilian women. Slavery in Brazil wasn't just the domain of the elite -- slaves were kept by large segments of society.

LEONARDO CARRATO / VII Mentor Program
The dead: The burial of a victim of the coronavirus in Rio. It's becoming harder and harder to avoid the virus.

The dead: The burial of a victim of the coronavirus in Rio. It's becoming harder and harder to avoid the virus.

LEONARDO CARRATO / VII Mentor Program
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