BRASILIA, Brazil -- BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil's president says she'll ask congress to pass legislation to reserve 20 percent of the nation's government jobs for blacks.

About half of Brazil's 204 million people are black — more than in any nation except Nigeria.

Blacks face persistent socio-economic inequality in Brazil, and President Dilma Rousseff says her proposal will help reverse that. She says "affirmative action is essential" for creating equal opportunities.

There is no word on when congress might begin debating the proposal.

Rousseff also said Tuesday that by the end of next year, her government will have sent a doctor to each of Brazil's more than 3,500 "quilombos." Those are settlements founded by descendants of Brazil's slaves.

Brazil had more African slaves land on its shores than any other country in the Americas.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Demonstrators wave their country's national flag on Paulista Avenue where crowds gathered to celebrate the reversal of a fare hike on public transportation, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. President Dilma Rousseff called an emergency meeting of her top Cabinet members for Friday morning, more than a week after the protests began. But the protests that raged across Brazil late Thursday and into Friday were spiked with violence as people vented anger over a litany of complaints, from high taxes to corruption to rising prices. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

  • Crowds gather along Paulista Avenue to celebrate the reversal of a fare hike on public transportation after days of protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

  • Demonstrators confront Brazilian police on horseback during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

  • Lorena Dias poses for a photo holding a sign that reads in Portuguese; "I don't ride the bus, but I want respect," at an anti-government protest, in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. The 15-year-old student says, "This is the time to change so much that is wrong in Brazil and it's young people who are leading the way. I see a sign of hope in this movement."(AP Photo/Marco Sibaja)

  • Demonstrators gather during an anti-government protest in front of the Brazilian National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

  • Demonstrators lie in front of a police line during an anti-government protest in front of the Brazilian National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

  • People gather behind the Candelaria church for an anti-government protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

  • People shout slogans during an anti-government demonstration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

  • In this photo released by Agencia Brasil, police repel demonstrators trying to invade the Foreign Ministry, during an anti-government protest in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. Police struggled to keep hundreds of protesters from invading the Foreign Ministry, outside of which protesters lit a small fire. (AP Photo/Agencia Brasil, Valter Campanato)

  • In this photo released by Agencia Brasil, military police approach protestors trying to invade the Foreign Ministry, during an anti-government protest in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Agencia Brasil, Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom)

  • A police officer detains a man after finding a rock in his pocket during an anti-government demonstration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • An anti-riot policeman throws a sound grenade to disperse a group of demonstrators near the Arena Fonte Nova soccer stadium before a Confederations Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Uruguay in Salvador, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

  • Military police detain a man during an anti-government protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

  • A demonstrator is arrested by anti riot police officers after clashes erupted during a protest against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Demonstrators march during a demonstration in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 20, 2013, during a protest of what is now called the 'Tropical Spring' against corruption and price hikes. (Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Demonstrators march during a demonstration in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 20, 2013, during a protest of what is now called the 'Tropical Spring' against corruption and price hikes. (Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Demonstrators stand next to a fire during a protest part of what is now called the 'Tropical Spring' against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro. (LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Riot police officers confront demonstrators after clashes erupted during a protest against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro as the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 is being held in the country. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A demonstrator is shot by rubber bullets as anti riot police officers charge after clashes erupted during a protest against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A demonstrator holds a sign reading 'It's not for cents, but for rights' on June 20, 2013, in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, during a protest part of what is now called the 'Tropical Spring' against corruption and price hikes. (Pedro VILELA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Anti riot police officers fire rubber bullets after clashes erupted during a protest against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands of people march on June 20, 2013, in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, during a protest part of what is now called the 'Tropical Spring' against corruption and price hikes. (Pedro VILELA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Two demonstrators hold a comic reading 'Silveira, do not yet shoot. I guess that one on the left is your son' during a protest of what is now called the 'Tropical Spring' against corruption and price hikes, in Rio de Janeiro, on June 20, 2013. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Demonstrators march after clashes erupted during a protest against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro as the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 is being held in the country. (NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Brazilian national flag flutters as demonstrators hold posters during a roadblock to protest against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Belo Horizonte, as the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 is being held in the country. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Mounted riot police officers march along a street after clashes erupted during a protest against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro as the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 is being held in the country. (NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Demonstrators confront the riot police after clashes erupted during a protest against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro as the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 is being held in the country. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Students shout slogans while a trash can burns during a protest of what is now called the 'Tropical Spring' against corruption and price hikes, at National Congress in Brasilia, on June 20, 2013. (EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Anti riot police officers ask demonstrators leave the streets after clashes erupted during a protest against corruption and price hikes, on June 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Demonstrators set debris on fire during a protest of what is now called the 'Tropical Spring' against corruption and price hikes, at National Congress in Brasilia, on June 20, 2013. (EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Demonstrators knock down a fence during a protest of what is now called the 'Tropical Spring' against corruption and price hikes, at National Congress in Brasilia, on June 20, 2013. (EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A passer-by looks at the broken window of a bank attacked overnight by demonstrators on Presidente Vargas avenue in downtown Rio de Janeiro on June 21, 2013 early morning. (PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A military police officer pepper sprays a protester during a demonstration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

  • Protestors are reflected on the glass of a building, left, as they march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. Protests in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities, set off by a 10-cent hike in public transport fares, have clearly moved beyond that issue to tap into widespread frustration in Brazil about a heavy tax burden, politicians widely viewed as corrupt and woeful public education, health and transport systems and come as the nation hosts the Confederations Cup soccer tournament and prepares for next month's papal visit. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A military police removes journalists from near the Rio de Janeiro state legislature, background, during a demonstration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

  • A protester looks at vandalized cash machines at a bank during a demonstration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

  • A police officer, second from right, holds an electroshock gun as another policeman is dragged by colleagues during clashes with demonstrators outside the state legislative assembly in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Nicolas Tanner)

  • A policeman lies injured on the ground after clashing with demonstrators during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A demonstrator shouts during a protests in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

  • Demonstrators carry a sign reading in Portuguese 'No to violence' in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

  • Demonstrators shout during a protest in front of the Brazilian National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

  • Protesters try to invade the state assembly during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Nicolas Tanner)

  • Protesters, carrying fire bombs and firecrackers, walk up the stairs as they try to enter the sate assembly during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Nicolas Tanner)

  • A masked protestor stands in front of the state assembly building during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Nicolas Tanner)

  • Demonstrators try to enter the perimeter of the government palace during a protest against a price increase for public transportation in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

  • A demonstrator waves a Brazilian flag during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. Protesters massed in at least seven Brazilian cities Monday for another round of demonstrations voicing disgruntlement about life in the country, raising questions about security during big events like the current Confederations Cup and a papal visit next month. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

  • Protestors gather at the Municipal theater during a march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • A riot police officer holds a weapon during clashes in Rio de Janeiro's downtown, on June 17, 2013. Youths clashed with police in central Rio Monday as more than 200,000 people marched in major Brazilian cities to protest the billions of dollars spent on the Confederations Cup and higher public transport costs. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A protester kicks a gas canister during a demonstration a in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. Thousands took to the streets in largely peaceful protests in at least eight cities in Brazil Monday, demonstrations that voiced the deep frustrations Brazilians feel about carrying heavy tax burdens but receiving woeful returns in public education, health, security and transportation. Officers in Rio fired tear gas and rubber bullets when a group of protesters invaded the state legislative assembly and later vandalized and looted properties in the area. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

  • An injured demonstrator is helped by fellow protesters and treated by a doctor, left, who said the man was shot in the shoulder, during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, June 17, 2013. It was not clear who shot the man. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

  • Demonstrators gesture next to a burning barricade during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)