RED ADA project

Project: Strengthening Indigenous Women’s Leadership to tackle Political Violence

Location: Bolivia – La Paz, Potosi, Chuquisaca, Tarija and Beni

The Situation

Despite a mandate in the new constitution to increase the number of female candidates, widespread violence against women leaders is causing female politicians to step down. And is discouraging other women from entering politics.

RED ADA workshop participant with video camera 2010In the last years, Bolivian women have been on the frontline of social mobilisation. This has led to political changes such as the election of the first indigenous president. In this new political context, some progress has been made to integrate indigenous women’s voices into the urban women’s movement. Although the new constitution provides a framework to improve women’s rights, the main emphasis for inclusion is now on ethnicity which may perpetuate the exclusion of women’s needs from policies even under the new constitution.

What Womankind is doing

Our project aims is to boost indigenous and peasant women’s participation in power by building their skills and abilities to pursue meaningful roles in politics and reducing the gender based political violence that prevent them from exercising their political participation.

With our partner RED ADA we are:

  • Training 1,300 women leaders in 5 provinces of Bolivia to increase and strengthen the capacity of indigenous and peasant women to overcome the discrimination, abuse and exclusion.
  • Creating 3 regional Watchdog’s Women Committees to monitor problems faced by women’s leaders and present their findings to local authorities
  • Raising awareness of 35,000 members of the general public through communication campaigns and production of 135 radio programs in Spanish, Quechua and Aymara, in order to reach and give a voice to marginalised indigenous women
  • Lobbying and working with 55 local and regional decision makers to take positive actions to prevent gender based political violence

What we have achieved so far

We have provided leadership and human rights training to over 500 indigenous women leaders who are now more able to monitor and demand their right to exercise a meaningful role in politics and challenge gender based violence.

Following lobbying by our partners and others, in 2012 a landmark law was passed by the Bolivian government outlawing political violence and harassment of women.