Cholita Luchadora

Carmen Rosa, an indigenous Aymara woman, has been one of the first “flying Cholitas”. Here she is celebrating her victory after a match, showing with her hands the symbols of women empowerment. She is fighting on the ring for indigenous women’s rights and against their discrimination.
For decades, indigenous women in Bolivia suffered racism and public abuse. Now wrestling is empowering the country’s Cholitas. Once a derogatory term for indigenous or mixed heritage girls, the word “Cholita” has come to have positive connotations as a name for the empowered, fashion-conscious, resourceful and proud women of Bolivia. For the first time, indigenous Aymara women are owning the word Cholita, using their iconic dress and feisty spirit to rise above the racism and oppression that has plagued them. More than entertainment and profits, Cholita wrestling is a way for Bolivian women to prove their worth in a “man’s world”. Having been abused, humiliated and discriminated against throughout history, the ring is one place where indigenous women can hold their heads high, do their job with pride, and be on equal footing with men.
Another way in which Cholita wrestling is empowering women is by providing the female working-class with an opportunity to earn money. Most Cholitas come from low-economic and/or broken households and wrestling is a way for them to independently improve their own life and that of their families. Unfortunately racism and sexism in the country still exists, however with groups such as the Flying Cholitas paving the way for change, it won’t be long before Bolivian women receive the rights and respect they are entitled to.