Silvina La Poderosa jumps from a corner of the ring to land on her opponent, Reyna Torres, during a promotional fight in Senkata, El Alto. After years of dwindling audiences, and in an attempt to revive public interest, wrestling finally allowed indigenous women to participate. The sport’s popularity has since rebounded considerably.
This is Eduardo Leal @eduardoleal80 sharing my long term project “Cholita’s Rise” about the emancipation of indigenous women in Bolivia.
As recently as 10 years ago, Bolivia’s indigenous Aymara and Quechua women were socially ostracized and systematically marginalized. Known as “cholitas” (an initially derogatory term which members of the community have re-appropriated and now use with pride), these women—recognizable by their wide skirts, braided hair, and bowler hats—were banned from using public transportation or entering certain public spaces. Their career opportunities, meanwhile, were severely limited, with most becoming either housecleaners or roadside vendors. While these women have been organizing and advocating for their rights since at least the 1960s, their movement was invigorated by Evo Morales’s election, in 2006, as Bolivia’s first indigenous president. Ever since that historic moment, many of the country’s “cholitas” began taking pride in their traditional identity and further asserting their rights as members of Bolivia’s society.
To see more from the project Cholita's Rise, go to: http://www.eduardoleal.co.uk/cholitas-rise/