Gonzalo Alaiza, Country Director of Pro Mujer in Bolivia, examines the many hurdles faced by indigenous women who make up a disproportionate share of the country’s poor and lack easy and affordable access to its health system.
“Development with a Woman’s Touch,” is an article that is part of a special Fall edition of ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America focusing on Bolivia and published by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.
Development with a Women’s Touch
Human Development: Microfinance, Health and Women’s Empowerment
Today, like every day, Adela Reyes, 56, gets up at five in the morning. She serves her family breakfast, prepares lunch, organizes the household, send the kids off to school, and takes care of her 11-month old motherless grandson, her daughter having died in childbirth at home in an isolated rural community. Adela leaves the house at 8:30, carrying the baby on her back as she makes her way to the small business she runs: selling school utensils in a local market. As she walks, she does mental arithmetic: today, she is due to pay back a third of the loan she owes for her business.
For many, Adela is just one more of the thousands of poor women who live in Bolivia. Although the country has made some progress in poverty reduction, it is still the poorest country in South America, and recently surpassed Brazil as the continent’s most unequal country.
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