April, 28 2011
Valérie Boire in Bolivia: a concrete step forward for the representation of women
Valérie Boire worked as an Uniterra volunteer for one year in La Paz, Bolivia. Her committment continued upon returning to Canada, and within a few weeks she had assumed the role of ambassador for the campaign "Her Challenge, Your Challenge”.
As a communications consultant, Valérie worked together with CECI’s Bolivian partners on the development of transversal skills in communications. She worked primarily with Red OEPAIC, a network dedicated to defending the rights of artisans and to the promotion of cultural identities through artisanal industries. Her mandate in particular was to foster communication with the member organizations and to form a team that could provide ad hoc support to the head office, particularly in terms of communication tools.
Asked about the challenges of women in Bolivia, Valérie responds: “What really struck me was the over-representation of men in the leadership of our partner organizations. Everyone says that equality is a priority, but few actually act accordingly. I worked at Red OEPAIC, which represents more than 5000 artisans across the country, 80% of which are women – but when I arrived the board of directors consisted of three men in the key leadership roles (president, vice-president, and treasurer) and one woman (the secretary). After the last elections, the general assembly named two women, to the presidency and to the treasury. Hopefully this is a sign of real change”.
She believes that equality between men and women is everybody’s business, and would like to be able to raise her children, boys or girls, “in a world where they can develop and evolve without even having to think about it. I would like them to be rewarded for their effort, rather than for their appearance, their gender, or the things that money can buy. We can always dream!”