8th March is International Women's Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Our founder Diane Nettleton talks about her experiences when it comes to empowering women and the impact of their presence within the world.
Last year one of the books I read in the first lockdown was ‘The Moment of Lift’ by Melinda Gates. I would highly recommend it for more awareness on how empowering women makes the world a better place. For those of us fortunate to live in developed countries this book raises awareness on the plight of women struggling through poverty in the developing world, and that women are disproportionately made to bear its burden.
The focus is on access to family planning as the heart of women’s empowerment, understanding the relationship between poverty and reproductive health, child marriage and increasing access to all levels of education. Emphasis is also put on the burden of unpaid work, holding women back from pursuing their dreams and being held back in the world of agriculture. Women working in diverse workplaces create more empathic and united societies whilst also empowering women.
The experience of reading the book, although shocking and hard to read at times, the principle of the book made me think how could I practically help or make a difference however small.
Whilst researching Muslin Cloths for GAIA Skincare, we came across a company who knew of Genesh and his family from Kerala who make a wide range of handmade fabrics. The process is very artisan and hands on - the yarns are dyed by hand, the weaving is done by hand on small power looms or handlooms with the printing also done by hand.
Genesh works with a Women’s Co-operative in Kerala called Gramodaya, who sew up the fabrics.
This is what Genesh wrote about the Co-operative in 2019.
"Gramodaya, the ladies collective is self working / administered group for sewing. We gave the fabrics and Gramoday sew the made-ups.
Gramodaya is a group of women who were scattered to different private sewing concerns and getting very low earnings. As a remote and economically backward village our native people were struggling to sustain. I have been thinking to unite some of the talented women other than forming a private institution and I give a suggestion in front of the Local Self Govt: Body and in 2009 a group of 12 ladies were formed and named the institution "Gramodaya". The objective of the formation of this group is to bring the ladies to the main stream of the society by the guide line of the Govt: project named "kudumbasree" which means "family prosperity".....
......it's my responsibilities to collect sewing work for them from other concerns.
We, by supporting the Gramodaya, a new story was written in patronizing a venture to attain their goals to live a better way."
By supporting and lifting up women we can all make a difference.
We know how by having support of family and friends we have been able to deal with the most challenging times, so on this International Women’s Day let us think of those women not so fortunate as us and make a difference.