Casimira Rodríguez

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Casimira Rodríguez (born 1966) was the Bolivian Justice Minister from February 2006 until January 23, 2007. She is a former leader in the Domestic Workers' Union, which she helped found. Rodríguez was Bolivia’s first indigenous Quechua woman to serve as a government minister. She sought to reform corruption and inefficiency in the judicial system by working to build trust and humanity.

Most of Rodríguez’s life has been spent as a domestic worker and as an organizer of domestic workers. At the age of 13 she was taken—essentially kidnapped—from her rural village in Mizque and brought to the city of Cochabamba to work, with the promise that she would be given in return the schooling and care her campesino parents could not provide. Instead, her supposed employers held Rodríguez in abusive servitude for two years, forcing her to work long hours with no pay.

Rodríguez’s experience is the lot of many of the Quechua and Aymara women of Bolivia. Poverty draws them from rural areas to cities, where persistent racial and economic discrimination relegates them almost exclusively to domestic work.

In February 2006 Casimira Rodríguez became Bolivia’s new Minister of Justice. She was replaced in a cabinet change in January 2007.

In 2007 Casimira was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship for her work "...breaking the pattern of exploitation, trafficking, and discrimination suffered by more than 150,000 Bolivian domestic workers" [1]

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