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  • Writer's pictureR. Gurley

What Bolivian Women can Teach Women Around the World

Gender-based violence (GBV) has been forefront in international news in recent years. Movements such as the #MeToo movement have given voice to women who once were silent. Latin America is no exception. Euronews reported on the thousands of women who gathered in La Paz this past year to protest Bolivia’s gender-based violence. This gathering of women is revolutionary in Bolivia where women were seen as property in the eyes of Bolivian law until 2013 when Evo Morales signed into effect Ley 348. Ley 348 is the first law on Bolivian books that grants women the right to a violence free life. Ley 348 has been slow to take effect. Bolivia who still ranks #1 in the Western Hemisphere for GBV with an estimated 10 women dying of femicide every month. Bolivian women have taken matters in through own hands to combat the law’s current ineffectiveness with mobilization efforts such as NiUnaMenos “Not One Women Less.”

Ni Una Menos, an Argentine fourth wave grassroots feminist movement, sprouted in Bolivia through the mobilization efforts of women such as Belen Luna. Belen Luna helped launch NiUnaMenos in 2016 through by using social media to organize nation-wide protests on November 25, the United Nation International Day to End Gender Based Violence. She says, “The most inspiring is Feminist mobilizations that have been coordinating women all over Bolivia and just asking for to live a life without violence. So much energy, so much strength working towards a collective liberation was as inspiring as it can get.” The result of this collective work, Luna says, “is now a really strong network of activists that is in more than 50 countries.”

The work also inspired Luna to seek an international scholarship to study these issues in Brighton, England. Luna learned in her study abroad, that, “All over the world we have failed to deal with the roots of the problem and we are just dealing with silencing what they actually think that we are second class citizens.” She found English feminist movement addressed this through formal measures. She says, “In England you see that there are public policies and rights that my country can strive towards.” However, she notices, “In the UK they are struggling a lot to get organized in a grass roots levels. There are big organizations, but they are struggling from getting the memory of when they got collectively organized.” Luna says the first world could benefit in studying Bolivian mobilization efforts. She says, “That is something I am going to highlight about Bolivia. We are consistently getting collectively organized and we are consistently fighting for more rights.”

For more on Belen Luna, her travels, her studies and thought son the global women’s revolution, go to to listen to her interview in its entirety. To read Belen’s blog regarding similar issues, go to

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