Overcoming gender inequality in Bolivia’s construction sector

Asociación de Mujeres Constructoras (ASOMUC) – Bolivia

Article | 08 October 2020
In December 2014, a group of women construction workers trained by Red Hábitat in vocational trainings, decided to organize themselves as an association to create decent work in a highly competitive and sexist market: the construction sector. Making business in a field traditionally monopolised by men meant that their organization, ASOMUC, had to overcome inequality and discrimination.

After achieving legal status in September 2017, ASOMUC members participated in SIYB trainings adapted to the construction sector for women entrepreneurs as part of the entrepreneurship programme of the La Paz Municipal Government.

During the training, the participants developed a business plan to strengthen ASOMUC’s operations. The focus was on developing a marketing strategy, costing and financial planning. Although the group of women entrepreneurs had previous experience working together, the training strengthened ASOMUC’s organizational structure, showing the advantages of having clear common objectives, a structure that responds to market needs and financial planning for the business.

The adapted SIYB training to the sector and to the specific needs of women entrepreneurs complemented the vocational training programme ASOMUC members had already received in construction techniques, and developed the members’ business management skills.

The ILO Office in Bolivia, through a project working on equal opportunities, monitored the performance of the Association and supported them in becoming a women-led example to follow in the sector.

Today, as an association, they also advocate for legislation aimed at achieving greater equity and equal pay and opportunities for women in the construction sector.