Building a Women’s Revolution in Bolivia

In Bolivia, more and more women are construction workers, as a recent construction boom concentrated in the major cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz has opened up positions in a country with limited work opportunities. The industry has grown steadily since 2004, and construction spending rose 32% between 2012 and 2014 alone.

Elizabeth Ticona arrived in La Paz from the countryside when she was a child. Being an indigenous woman she faced strong discrimination all her life, which lead her to fight workers’ rights for more than ten years. After lot of hardships she entered the construction field, traditionally reserved to men, and decided to join efforts with some colleagues to start the Union of Women Construction Workers.

“We started the union after seeing all of the chauvinism and sexism in this industry in Bolivia,” says Ticona. “Women face discrimination, abuse, and sexual harassment.” She adds that male coworkers routinely tell them to “go back to the kitchen” and that “only men are fit for this work.” Bolivia’s first union of female construction workers, aims to put a stop to that.

Shot on assignment for COLORS Magazine.