greater signicance is the way inwhich women have gained controlover these resources, progressed indecision-making, income management,productive technology and “discovered”Inormation and Communication Technology (ICT) or clientcommunication, knowledge o ashionand relationships with other women´snetworks.
The importance o visibilizing the work o knitters
Knitting is a millenarian Andeanpractice that expresses cultural aspects,in this case the culture o Huancavelica,through texture, color, design andiconography. In this region, knitting isan activity traditionally carried out bywomen and men that demonstratesa characteristic polichromy, mainlypreserved by the Choppcca nation(community).Further, one hundred hand knitterscomprise ten associations located indierent districts o Huancavelica andAcobamba. Loom weavers make upa smaller group organized into sevenassociations. In the Region, the loomis a very complex masculine activity,producing important garments orindividual and amily use, and is asignicant source o income. The decision o women to incursioninto weaving has meant a break withtradition. They have done so despitethe negative reaction o many amiliesin their communities, because
“...women are capable o learning the warptechnique and, just as men, we weavelarge garments such as blankets and other garments that are very delicate, such asscarves, in colorul, alpaca fbre with upto 192 thread count. Women are just asintelligent and hard working as men, weraise our amilies, and with training weare able to do what our husbands do and together produce that same as they do onthe arm.”
Mrs. Juana Mallqui, knitter romAntaccocha community, province o Huancavelica.
Women’s work days areincreased
Economic activities carried outby women who work with the Houseo Well-Being do not prevent themrom carrying out other work in thehome and the reproductive sphere. Athome, these women continue to carryout various activities, consequentlyextending their work day. In general,this situation is not resolved equitably.In some cases, prot rom the knitter´sproduction and her position in themarket provokes a restructuring o roles at home. Consequently, thereis a redistribution o domestic work between other members o theamily, including men.Other avorable possibilitiesexist including the promotion andvisibility o women´s productionin dierent spheres (thoughsupport rom the municipal orregional governments, publicityin a catalogue that displays theirproducts, business networks,trips, etc.), which impacts how thisactivity is valued by the communityand amily. Recognition is evidentwhen the community observesthe purchase o goods, thetranser
o bags o garments, andtravel by women to towns beyondHuancavelica, etc.
Knitters, a dynamic force in the rural economy of Huancavelica
“Now I sell each week in the Acobambaair. I sell my sweaters, scarves and hats. I sell more than last year; people rom thecommunity come to my house to makeorders…now I have my own money that I manage, I decide…”
Mrs. Jessica, Choclococha community,Acobamba province.
Seven years ago Manuela Ramosbegan the Casas del Bien-Estar (Houseso Well-Being) in the HuancavelicaRegion, co-managed by a network o 30 women rural promoters in theprovinces o Acobamba, Angaraesand Huancavelica. 90 promoters romdierent peasant communities werealso added to this network. All o thesewomen had received training andbegan to provide services to womenwho required inormation about sexualhealth and reproductive health, andawareness about diverse types o violences against women. Throughout the years, thepromoters have built individualand collective capacities and skills,inorming, orienting and trainingalmost 10,000 women to be able toexercise their rights. They have alsopromoted women´s participation inaspects o coordination and vigilancewithin their municipalities and in otherstate institutions such as the Women´sEmergency Centre, Police Station,Justice o peace, and healthestablishment.A concurrent process is thestrengthening o rural women´seconomic entrepreneurshipas a strategy o citizen´sempowerment, expandingopportunities through technical-productive training in traditionalactivities such as guinea pig-raising and knitting. Buildingproductive capacities andincreasing knowledge andmarket management haveacilitated ways o adding valueto production. Consequently,some enterprises have registeredan increase in productivity. O
The Casa del Bien-estar (House o Well-Being) is a space built by women and or women o quality multiple health services, led by promoters specializedin health, legal orientation and economic entrepreneurship or the exercise o their rights. It is aimed toward strengthening the participation o women indecision-making spaces and to providing an organized response to the main problems they ace in terms o sexual and reproductive health, violence againstwomen and acess to justice, as well as in income generation.
Without economic autonomy there is no true autonomy.