Voices from the Bolivian Altiplano: Perspectives on Empowerment among Aymara Women


Hedin, Emily. 2011. “Voices from the Bolivian Altiplano: Perspectives on Empowerment among Aymara Women.” Geografia: Malaysian Journal of Society and Space 7 (3): 24–35.

Author: Emily Hedin


This paper examines the perspectives on empowerment among Aymara women against the concept of empowerment as it evolves in the context of international development. Through the analysis of findings from a series of field observations it was found that Aymara women had a threefold perspectives of empowerment: (1) Empowerment as participation where women could find a voice and take collective action; (2) Empowerment as leadership where women were enabled to take the reins of local change; and (3) Empowerment through conflict where women could open up space and shift roles in adverse situations. The paper concludes by reiterating the need for studies of empowerment to embed the local within the national and global. By identifying the interconnectivity between Aymara women in El Alto and La Paz, national politics, and international scholarship, the paper calls for a framework that captures how institutions, politics, and society construct empowerment.

Keywords: conflicts, development and empowerment, leadership, participation, women empowerment, empowerment constructs

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Political Participation Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Bolivia

Year: 2011

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.