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I never imagined that my main takeaway from the Bolivian city, where women have struggled for equality, would be one of female empowerment — thanks to everyone from chefs to wrestlers.

Maybe it was oxygen deprivation, huffing my way through a mountainous metropolis 12,000 feet above sea level, but on my first walk through La Paz, Bolivia, I’m not sure I saw a single man.

The women, though, were ubiquitous — and gloriously so. Mostly indigenous, of Aymara and Quechua origin, they had an inimitable sartorial flair, in jaunty bowler hats, tiered skirts and colorful cloth satchels that hauled everything from vegetables to babies on their backs. At times, the streets were packed with so many bulbous wool hats — round on top, short of brim — it felt like wading through a river of female Charlie Chaplins.

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South America Bolivia La Paz