São Paulo, BrazilAs Paula Nunes steps carefully through the narrow passageways between makeshift homes in the Buracanã settlement, residents call out to her by name.
This improvised community, sandwiched between the São Remo favela and the University Hospital of São Paulo, is a place of last resort. Most of the 400 families who live here lost their livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their ability to pay rent.
Nunes is their city council representative—or rather one of five women who share a single council seat since they were elected in 2020 as part of a political collective called Bancada Feminista. Though not formally recognized by the government, power-sharing political seats are part of a growing trend to broaden the scope of representation and increase