Violence and harassment in the world of work affects women regardless of age, location, income or social status. Women continue to be less likely to have access to social protection. Women tend to spend around 2.5 times more time on unpaid care and domestic work than men. White women earn 77 cents to every dollar white men earn, and pay gap only widens with women of color.
What is it?
Women’s empowerment refers to the process of increasing women’s access to control over the strategic life choices that affect them and access to the opportunities that allow them to fully realize their capacities. We are lucky enough to have a wide variety of impact partners who aim to empower women so that they can realize their full potential and have the ability to achieve it. Upavim Crafts is a self-run cooperative of women in La Esperanza, Guatemala. Every single sale prodives fair trade jobs for women and supports grade school and daycare. The Women’s Bean Project teaches women in their program daily living skills, social skills, and provides career guidance and preparation. Chic Made Consciously aims to give everyone fair work opportunities. Catalyst Collections wants to build and strengthen women-led businesses and create opportunities for vulnerable women to achieve economic empowerment by hiring women who create quality, handmade goods. World For Good supports people who are at risk or are survivors of sex trafficking, sex slavery and poverty with every purchase of a tote bag. Azizi Life pays artisan women a fair wage for their products. Dot Cup give a menstrual cup to a woman in need for every purchase of one. RoHo employs 36 women and 6 men who handcraft leather goods in coastal Kenya.
Why does it matter?
Empowerment of women is a necessity for the development of a society. If a society is only as good as it treats its most oppressed citizens, the empowerment of women would only benefit society as a whole. The elements of women’s empowerment, power, autonomy, and subjectivity, hold the key to a more balanced and just society for everyone. It is important for consumers to empower women by purchasing their products because the business provides these women with an avenue of control they otherwise may not have had. Selectively purchasing products from companies that value women rather than exploit them creates an even greater positive impact because it shows businesses that consumers care how women are treated in all kinds of industries. This monetary reward also grants weight to the idea that women are valuable assets outside of the home domain. Women comprise most of the artisan sector because it is easy to do from home; however, it is extremely easy for these women to be exploited as they comprise almost 70 percent of those living in poverty worldwide. Women comprise the majority of those facing poverty, in part, because of the completely natural and vital human function of menstruation. Even in affluent countries, up to one in five girls miss some school due to a lack of access to adequate period products. In countries that face lower levels of improved sanitation, that rate skyrockets and some girls even drop out of school entirely. The empowerment of women through employment and programs that ensure women and girls around the world have access to basic necessities, like period products and childcare, would drastically change how women experience the world. The empowerment of women would decrease illiteracy rates, economies grow, women choose to have fewer children later on in life, and the gender pay gap will start to close.
Women’s empowerment is necessary to create a more equitable and just world.