Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with stark gender and racial inequalities.
While people with Spanish ancestry tend to dominate political and economic life, most of the indigenous population – especially women – work in low income jobs.
Violence and discrimination against women is widespread. Those responsible are usually family members, so crimes often go unreported. Indigenous women face more violence than any other group, and are the least likely to seek justice.
Sexual and reproductive rights for women are largely ignored as they’re seen as taboo, which has led to high numbers of deaths during pregnancy and childbirth.
- Violence against women aged 15 to 44 causes more deaths than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war (Panos Institute).
- 50 per cent of women have experienced physical abuse or intimidation in their lifetime (Foundation for Sustainable Development).
- Around half of people live below the national poverty line, with the highest rates among indigenous women (World Bank 2009 and UNDP 2009-2012).
- For every 100,000 babies born in Bolivia, 200 women die in childbirth. This compares to just eight in the UK (World Bank Data).
Promoting rights, challenging violence
Indigenous women in Bolivia face particularly high levels of discrimination and violence. This makes it very difficult for them to take part in politics and make it into leadership positions.
Working with the Centro de Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer Aymara (CDIMA), we are:
- Providing indigenous women with skills and knowledge about their rights, and raising awareness of women’s rights generally
- Training young indigenous women leaders to participate in politics and challenge discrimination, changing not only their attitudes, but men’s too
- Creating women’s Justice and Rights Committees to report cases of violence to judiciary bodies
- Establishing Women Free from Violence Committees to collect and analyse information on women’s political participation and track incidences of violence against women
- Lobbying decision-makers to take action to stop violence against women.
“I came to CDIMA to learn how to become a leader. I have learned a lot about women’s rights, violence against women and political participation. I hope to, someday, become, with CDIMA’s support, a council representative or take on another position of authority.” Rita
Centro de Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer Aymara Aymata "Amuyt’a" (CDIMA)
CDIMA is a leading indigenous women’s rights organisation in Bolivia, founded in 1989 to promote Aymara women’s rights, cultural identity ...
Strengthening reproductive health and rights
Bolivia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Latin America. The poor state of the country’s healthcare system plays a role in this, but discrimination is a major part too.
Sex education is based on misinformation and sexist prejudices, leading to unwanted pregnancies, sexual harassment, sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
Plus, young people have limited access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as they’re classed as ‘minors’, not proper citizens.
We are working with Gregoria Apaza and other local organisations on:
- Increasing young women’s awareness of and access to sexual and reproductive health services and rights
- Raising awareness among the wider community and government about the importance of sexual health rights and services
- Building partnerships with educational and health institutions to deliver training on sexual and reproductive health and rights to young people
- Working with young people to challenge traditional beliefs and attitudes around women’s rights
Centro de Promocion de Mujer Gregoria Apaza (CPMGA)
CPMGA has established successful leadership and violence prevention courses and runs an influential radio station which broadcasts powerful social messages. ...
Our impact in Bolivia
Thanks to our partnership with women’s organisations in Bolivia:
- A landmark law was passed in May 2012 tackling harassment of female political leaders.
- More women are participating in politics as elected council women, ministers and union leaders.
- More indigenous female journalists are broadcasting information on women’s rights.
- There are eight Justice and Rights Committees in rural areas to challenge and prevent violence against women.
- More than 281 young people, 835 parents and teachers, and 318 health service providers have learned about the importance of sexual and reproductive rights and services.
- 119 young people are now ‘change-makers’, spreading the word about women’s rights to more than 8,600 of their peers.
Find out more about our impact
Help us do more
£12 can pay for one woman to go on a workshop on leadership and women’s rights, so she can become a future leader.
£75 can pay for 50 women to attend a training session on how they can better participate in politics, become leaders and recognise violence.
£155 can pay for a short TV programme and one radio slot to raise awareness of women’s rights.