About Me:I am Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Denver University and Co-Founder & Program Director of Women Work Together. The mission of Women Work Together is to cultivate and strengthen the capacity of indigenous women and girls in San Pedro Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, Guatemala to work effectively in groups, aspire to leadership, and accelerate positive changes in their lives and their communities. To accomplish this, WWT (womenworktogether.org) has taken an uncommon path in Latin America, partnering with local government to plan and implement WWT workshops and institutes. And, as a “hands-on” development project, WWT trains American and Guatemalan volunteers ages 18-70+ to work with WWT directors and the staff of San Pedro’s Oficina Municipal de la Mujer (Women’s Affairs Office) to deliver our workshop programs there. Originally designed to focus on adult women, WWT continues to facilitate women’s workshops in town and its seventeen villages. But in 2009, WWT expanded its participatory gender workshops to include junior high school girls. This emphasis on sending girls to school emerged when, in WWT’s first year in San Pedro, I worked with many women whose situations were already circumscribed by early pregnancies, illiteracy, male dominance, and poverty. It was clear that it was vital to intervene earlier in the life cycle if the goal was to help women improve their lives and their communities.
My Passions:Female empowerment, girls' education, participatory development
My Challenges:Female illiteracy, male dominance, hopeless mothers, daughters w/o goals
My Vision for the Future:The systemic change that helps women send their daughters to school.
My Areas of Expertise:Cultural anthropology, gender, Latin America, participatory development