Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Kate M. Centellas

Second Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Third Advisor

Sarah Moses

Relational Format



This thesis seeks to answer the question: What are the barriers to attempts to reduce Bolivia’s maternal mortality rate under Evo Morales? While Morales’ presidency began in 2006, the timeline is from 2004 to the present to account for changes due to his policy. Using activity theory and social capital theory, I argue that machismo and racism are two social factors that are barriers to efforts to reduce the maternal mortality rate. Machismo manifests itself uniquely in Bolivia, as I argue through a comparison to Paraguay. Machismo is also riddled with a history of anti-indigenous racism. I examine the Rockefeller Foundation’s international aid in the 20th century and how foundations like this have impacted intercultural healthcare today. The resulting racism experienced in the past and present limits participation in intercultural healthcare initiatives to combat maternal mortality rates. I apply this theory to the UNPF Midwifery Program and the Family Community Intercultural Health Program proposed by Morales. Then, I find the correlation coefficient between gender statistics provided by the World Bank and maternal mortality rates. This adds to the argument that machismo is unique and thus impacts intercultural healthcare’s efforts to intervene in maternal mortality rates. Such a complicated health issue requires a complex solution that addresses the social issues both causing the problem and impeding a solution. I propose that two of these social issues are machismo and racism, but there is room to explore what other social issues are influencing this issue and how solutions may address them.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.