When determination and resolution break barriers

She gets out of bed early, puts on her boots and climbs into her truck, which she uses to deliver four tons of bricks a day. Her name is Guisela Martínez, and she challenges the stereotypes that are always falsely applied to men. This 26-year old truck driver began to break down barriers in her community when she decided to do what she really wanted to, disregarding gender prejudice.

She lives with her husband in the Peruvian district of San Pedro de Saño, and together they started a brick manufacturing business. The third member of this company is Belleza (Beauty), her truck and work mate, with which she transports coal.

This job is traditionally done by men, but it is something this young truck driver loves. This is why Guisela has had to deal with the male chauvinism deeply entrenched in her community and at the same time work hard, ignoring her neighbors’ criticism.

Those were not the only obstacles she came across on the journey: no financial institution wanted to help her when she needed it most, because she did not have any credit history. That was when she turned to Financiera Confianza, which lent her the money to buy the truck and take her business to the next level. Now she has fulfilled her goal and in fact is setting herself new challenges: to buy a new and bigger truck, to hire more workers, buy more machines and open a hardware store.

Her inspiring story led her to take part, together with five other ‘exceptional women’, in a roundtable debate chaired by H.M. the Queen of Spain and organized by BBVA Microfinance Foundation in Madrid. There she explained how with the opportunity and a lot of determination, you can fulfil your goals. “I had no support. My neighbors would say to me, what do you think you’re doing? You should be in the kitchen, not driving a truck,” the entrepreneur explained in an interview with SER radio station after the roundtable.

But nothing is impossible for Guisela. She is a clear example of how jobs have nothing to do with gender, but with the passion and energy. Her message is straightforward: “We have to break down barriers and change future generations; that is the only way to create better economic development”.

For the moment, she will continue working to fulfil her new aspirations and carry on demolishing barriers, at the wheel of Belleza.


Laura G. Sáez, Communications BBVAMF