Women in India are at a disadvantage—this is the reality. Indian society is male dominated, and women are typically relegated to the home. When you combine the disadvantages of being a women in India, a lack of an education, and belonging to a religious minority, a woman’s ability to have her voice heard is made very difficult.
In developing countries like India, people that do not generate economic value lose their own value in society. For women artisans in rural India, the lack of resources such as education, access to market, and product design research suppresses their voice in their communities.
One way in which we try to enact change is by partnering with a large number of women artisans. Our total artisan network is made up of 50% women, in fact. It is important, however, to look outside of our existing artisan network and invest in the future. We offer vocational workshops for women who are not artisans, but have the potential to break into the craft economy.
Design and Tailoring Workshop
In May of 2016, our Indian arm of operations, SETU, held a 15-day tailoring and design workshop in the state of Rajasthan. 30 predominately Muslim women participated in the workshop and learned about cutting fabrics, stitching, embroidery, and design.
SETU provided Sewing machines, needles, thread, fabric, chalk, and of course food. An expert tailor led the workshop and the feedback was unanimously positive. The goal of the workshop was to increase livelihood opportunities for these women so they can take ownership and contribute to their households financially.
It has been inspiring to see the potential of these women. They had almost no prior craft/tailoring experience, but through this intensive workshop they’ve gained skills that can benefit them and their families for a lifetime.
It is critical for us to look for opportunities where no one else sees potential. Simply presenting an idea to a community of women is not enough. However, with the necessary tools an idea can flourish. Furthermore, an initial push in the right direction gives people the confidence they need to access their true potential and create value.
When you purchase Matr Boomie products, you're making a direct impact on the lives of women in India. Matr Boomie and SETU could not organize these development projects without the support of our retailers. One of the Fair Trade principles is "Build Capacity." We strive to develop producers' independence -- one way is through dialog. So, let's continue the conversation.
With your help, Matr Boomie and SETU will continue these workshops to shape a better future.
Would you like to add to the conversation? Comment below. If there are topics you’d like us to explore in a future blog, comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is our goal to inform people on Fair Trade, our mission, and the global artisan community. As always, we'd love to have you join our social media communities. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.