Senior Fellow Coletta Youngers and Senior Program Associate Teresa García Castro discuss their February 28 report about women coca and poppy growers in Bolivia and Colombia. It was published with three other organizations from around the region: the International Drug Policy Consortium, Dejusticia, and the Andean Information Network.
The roles played by women in coca and opium poppy producing zones get little attention. Moreover, they are stigmatized and discriminated against for being women, for being from marginalized rural areas, and for being engaged in the cultivation of crops deviated to illicit markets. They carry out a double work load and face multiple forms of violence. Yet as Youngers and García Castro explain, women who grow these crops are in fact are crucial agents of change in their communities, seeking to improve the lives of their families and communities. Development won’t happen without them as partners.