While an unfathomable idea in many countries, road maintenance jobs are no longer reserved for men in Peru. In fact, they have included females for many years now, according to the World Bank Group (WBG).
Since 2001, the Peruvian Government and the World Bank Group
(WBG) have been working hand-in-hand to ensure female workers can play an active role in the routine maintenance of rural roads.
This is part of a broader effort to reduce the gender gap in rural areas, and to improve women's access to social and economic opportunities.
To this end, the Peru-WBG partnership organized trainings, developed specific programs to improve women's access
to resources, and overall worked to eliminate the barriers that disadvantaged women.
As a result, female participation in rural road maintenance microenterprises reached 27% during the Peru Decentralized Rural Transport Project (2013).
Such social empowerment of women has brought a series of benefits like improved service access in rural areas: road maintenance works improved school registration and health consultations by 19.2% and 17.8%, respectively.
Likewise, road maintenance created new opportunities for women to make a living, thus improving their living conditions and control over financial decisions.
In addition, greater female participation translated into an improved work environment —women being cooperation promoters and efficient communicators— which in turn fostered better results.
All of the above proved a big confidence and leadership boost for women that even led some of them to set new personal life goals: from running their own businesses to venturing into politics.
There is still room for improvement
Promising as these results may be, they have also pointed to areas where work remains to be done.
In this sense, the WBG describes this as an opportunity to take the work further: increasing female participation in the full cycle of road asset management and developing skills that women can also use to thrive in other economic sectors.