In 1981, displaced women garment workers established La Mujer Obrera to broaden economic and educational opportunities for the South Central neighborhood of El Paso, Texas, particularly displaced women workers and Spanish-speaking community members, while helping revitalize the former Garment District where many women and their families worked, before global economic restructuring led to the loss of 35,000 jobs, mainly in the garment industry.
We believe we have a right to design and implement our own vision of community development. We advocate for community development rooted in dignity and justice, and to date we have established multiple social purpose projects. We also advocate for the border region as a whole.
Our process is based on who we are in our border community – we seek to nurture the leadership of women workers who have been ignored by politicians, and who we know are the backbone of this community.
Our members receive ongoing training and development including: women’s leadership & team-building, advocacy, food system, nutrition education, agro-ecology, communication & conflict resolution, and stress management.
The projects we have carved in our community provide us the opportunity to practice our leadership skills and ideas on our own terms; that is why we see them as more than businesses: they are in essence our school.
Our Members Speak
Visit our blog to read an interview with Ana of Mercado Mayapan. She speaks about how she got involved at La Mujer Obrera and why we opened a farmers market.
In this video interview, Maria speaks about why her job at La Mujer Obrera differs from other jobs, and why she decided to participate in La Mujer Obrera’s 2011 hunger strike calling for federal attention to border poverty and women-led development models.
In this video interview, members of La Mujer Obrera explain how they opened Mercado Mayapan as a way to to create their own alternatives to unemployment.