On September 27, 2017, the Brazilian Supreme Court – in a 6 to 5 judgment – decided that public schools can have “confessional” (Catholic) religious teaching in their curriculum. The constitutional case had been proposed by the Attorney General, who argued that current practice – that privileges Roman Catholic indoctrination – would violate the separation between Church and State as well as religious freedom. Although the judgment brings severe consequences to education rights in Brazil, it is only one example of the recent battles by conservative religious groups to influence Brazilian public education. The Catholic church has a long history of interference in Roman Catholic countries, aiming to block comprehensive sex education in schools. More recently, other churches and conservative groups have adopted similar strategies to influence educational policies in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America.

**** Brazil is only one example of a new wave of conservative mobilization that is sweeping Latin America, characterized by the gathering of powerful old economic elites and religious conservative groups. Among its central political strategies, this new wave fights against the inclusion of a gender equality approach in public policies, including school curricula among their principal battlegrounds. Across the region, this movement has won many major disputes with significant impact.

**** Latin America is already the only region in the world where adolescent pregnancies are not decreasing. . . .A recent analysis of global health progress, published by The Lancet, has shown that if the current trends continue, Latin American countries will not be able to reach their Sustainable Development Goals for reduction of teen pregnancy.  

**** The new wave of conservative mobilization in Latin America aggravates this situation and must therefore be taken seriously by those interested in preventing and reducing female poverty, and promoting gender equality not only in Latin America, but worldwide.

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