Breaking stereotypes, creating change

The World Economic Forum estimates that it will take 131 years to achieve gender equality. However, girls and women cannot wait that long. That’s why Ana, hailing from Bañado Sur in Asunción, challenges stereotypes and prejudices in a field usually associated only with men, aiming to become a successful entrepreneur.

Ana, general services entrepreneur
Ana in her workshop. © Plan International Paraguay

The bañados of Asunción houses the majority of Paraguay’s precarious settlements. It is estimated that over 100,000 people live there, constituting a fifth of the capital’s population. Here, the life and struggles of those who call this place home are reflected, yet it is also a land of opportunities with great potential.  

Learning new skills

From a young age, Ana showed great curiosity and skill in various trades, from masonry to carpentry. However, it was her passion for gardening that led her to discover her true talent. With the support of her mother, she gained her first clients and started her career as a gardener.  

As she gained experience, Ana expanded her skills, venturing into fields such as electricity, plumbing, and carpentry, inspired by her husband’s work. Five years ago, facing a challenging economic situation with 2 children to support, she decided to turn her life around and transform her passion into a business: she set out to start a venture in the field of general services. “It was then that I saw the opportunity to start this venture” she says. 

“One of the challenges I had to face was the barrier of men. They would meet me and think I didn’t have the capacity,” she comments. Despite the obstacles and doubts she faced along the way, Ana decided to turn each challenge into an opportunity to grow and prove her worth as a female entrepreneur.  

“I urge women to take the lead, to not be swayed by social prejudice or what people might say.” 


Her perseverance and self-confidence enabled her to weather the pandemic and move forward. The support of her husband was also crucial to her: “The person I have by my side didn’t set up a barrier; on the contrary, he motivated me and taught me about the trade.” she mentions. 


Economic empowerment for women

The opportunity to participate in a Business Plan workshop and obtain seed capital from Plan International Paraguay’s Sape’a 2.0 project was a significant growth opportunity in Ana’s journey. This experience not only provided her with the necessary resources but also imparted key knowledge about financial management and marketing. “I began to attract more clients; they started recommending me.”

Today, Ana takes pride in saying that she surpassed all expectations she had for herself. She managed to build a successful business in the field of general services, offering a wide range of services from gardening to electricity, plumbing, carpentry, and masonry. Her experience in these fields has allowed her to provide quality service to her clients. “I urge women to take the lead, to not be swayed by social prejudice or what people might say,” she concludes.