Elizabeth Ticona has been working in construction for over seven years. She has fought for workers’ rights in La Paz, Bolivia for more than ten years. But a few months ago, she decided to leave the movements she had been a part of for so long, and start her own: the Union of Women Construction Workers.
But a few months ago, she decided to leave the movements she had been a part of for so long, and start her own: 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, a 37-year-old mason. “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.More and more women are construction workers, as a recent construction boom in Bolivia 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. CNN and other news sources report that approximately 33% of all construction workers in Bolivia are now women, while Ticona estimates 20%. An 2011 official census reports just 4%.Read more