College Responds to UN Development Goals

Agronomy student finishes thesis

In 2015, the United Nations identified 17 Sustainable Development goals as part of a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of all people throughout the world by 2030.

The fifth Sustainable Development Goal specifically focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment. It includes “providing women and girls with equal access to education…to fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.”  

In Bolivia, the advancement of gender equality, especially for indigenous women, has been slow. But the College, dedicated to empowering marginalized Bolivian youth for nearly three decades, has made equal access to higher education for women a fundamental part of its pedagogy since day one. 

UAC-CP Academic Director José Luis Mamani says 2019 enrollment and overall graduation rates indicate the important role the College plays in helping Bolivian women overcome social discrimination and economic challenges. 

According to the UAC-CP’s 2019 academic report, women not only make up 63% of the student body, but more women are enrolling in traditionally male-dominated areas of study. Last year more women than men enrolled in the Veterinary Science Department. The number of women in Agronomy is steadily rising, too — nearly half of students in the Department are women. 

It’s a vast improvement compared to when Rosemary Gutierrez, Director of the UAC-CP’s Agronomy Department, first enrolled at the College 17 years ago. At the time, Rosemary and her sister Esther were the only two women — of 30 total students — in the entire program. Many people often asked if the sisters were sure about studying Agronomy because, they were told, “it was a career for men”. Determined to challenge the common misconception, Rosemary and Esther earned the top two highest grades in their class and secured several academic awards throughout their time in Carmen Pampa. 

Rosemary is now the first woman to serve as the Director of the Agronomy Department. She’s proud to be among the 53% of UAC-CP graduates who are women. Rosemary is also proud to have paved the way for young Bolivian women who come to study at the UAC-CP. 

Rosemary encourages her female students — and her 10-year-old daughter — to keep studying, because “when women get an education and a degree of their own, they have more choices, more freedom and more security.” 

“Now this myth that only men should study Agronomy is not as widely believed because women are allowed more self-expression and choices, thanks to changing culture and laws that support gender equity.”

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