Last week we posted about how we are inspired by strong women everywhere. We shared a story from Strong Women, Strong World country, Kenya. We will follow up by posting a story each week of a woman who fought injustice, lifted her community and did the things that she was told were impossible. Today we feature the Strong Women, Strong World country of Bolivia.
Casimira Rodriguez was 13 years old when she was taken from her rural village brought to the city of Cochabamba to work in a house. The understanding was that she would be given an education, taken care of and provided for in ways that her parents could not. Instead, she found herself working 18 hour days serving a house of 15 people by herself. She was abused and held against her will without pay.
At 15 years old, Casimira helped formed a group of domestic household workers who were willing to speak up. After 12 years as an advocate for workers rights, the union that she formed and was elected the director of passed the Bolivia Household Workers Law. This legislation assured fair salary compensation and legal rights for household workers. Not only was this significant for workers, but for women. In Bolivia, of 132,000 household workers, 99 percent are women.
From 2006 to 2007 Casimira served as the Justice minister in Bolivia. She was the first indigenous person elected to the Bolivian parliament and fought against corruption in the judiciary committee.
Ms. Casimira Rodriguez continues her work today by advocating for “community justice” and workers rights, including domestic workers in the United States.