Meet Bibata, the plumber who’s breaking down gender stereotypes in Burkina Faso

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bibata, 28, has a dream.

“I want to become the most prominent female entrepreneur in Burkina Faso,” she proudly tells us.

And thanks to the support of our donors, Bibata is already well on her way to realizing her dream through her own plumbing business. She’s also challenging local gender stereotypes while she’s at it too!

Meet Bibata, and hear her inspiring story:

Determined to learn despite the odds

Born in the Ivory Coast, Bibata became pregnant as a teenager – a reality that disappointed her parents so much that they sent her to Burkina Faso to live with her grandmother.

“It was my punishment,” she says.

But living in an entirely new country didn’t deter Bibata from achieving her education. She sold peanuts and mangoes to pay for evening classes, and eventually passed her primary school final exam.

Shortly afterward, Bibata found out about Plan International’s vocational training for youth and immediately applied to learn skills to become a plumber.  During this time, she continued taking her evening classes and simultaneously learned about plumbing while also achieving her high school diploma.

Bibata measuring for toilet installation

Overcoming challenges to build a brighter future

After completing high school and Plan International’s training, Bibata began working as plumber – the only female plumber in her town – and today, she works for herself!

As a successful entrepreneur with a growing plumbing business, Bibata employs two young people just like herself, but still faces professional challenges due to the fact that she is a woman in a male-dominated field.

Often, potential customers will ask to date her in return for work contracts or make jokes about her professional skills.

“I stop them by asking then if they would dare behave this way if I was a man,” she says.

Man and woman standing together

Bibata with Zack, one of her employees.

A future where everyone can reach their full potential

“I am proud of Bibata. She has broken down barriers for those who previously thought the plumbing profession was reserved for men,” says Rotimy Djossaya, Regional Director for Plan International Burkina Faso.

And we couldn’t agree more! Thanks to donor support,  women like Bibata  are accessing their rights to livelihood and changing conventional attitudes at the same time.

If you believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential then show your support with a Gift of Hope that empowers women to become financially independent!

Economically empower women around the world!