Bolivian women are breaking down barriers to seek political power

Jenny Cartagena Torrico – Guardian – Tuesday, 07 August 2012 (originally published 06 Aug)

A Quechua leader at a meeting on rural women in Bolivia.
A Quechua leader at a meeting on rural women in Bolivia. Image: Franz Chávez/IPS

Gender, ethnicity and even age can be an obstacle for women who want to get involved in politics in Bolivia, but a growing number are ensuring their voices are heard.

Marina Cuñaendi, a 55-year-old council woman from Urubichá, says: “I used to be a housewife. I’m a Guarani, and like many women in the countryside, I have no regular job. I was working for a women’s organisation when I was asked to run for office.”

“We go out on the fields early in the morning to help our husbands, tending the crops or taking the cattle out to pasture. We come home at night and we have to fix supper and make some time to weave so we can earn extra money for the house,” Villca says. “With these obligations, there’s no time for anything else. I now have a greater responsibility. As a member of the indigenous council my mission was to work for my community. In this new post I have to work for the future of my municipality” . . .

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