Handwriting by Marisa Mangum
This Saturday, August 26, commemorates Women’s Equality Day. It marks the signing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women within the United States the right to vote.1 In addition to recognizing this significant achievement, Women’s Equality Day allows us to look ahead to progress that has yet to be made for women, both nationally and internationally.
We see more women in today’s society holding positions of power2 in business, vocalizing their opinions and being heard, and being recognized for their amazing achievements in industries that were once considered primarily male-dominated. And on a global scale, the education gender gap is expected to close within the next decade.3
But there is much more to be done in order to achieve gender equality globally and across all arenas.
In North America, as of 2016, the gender gap was not forecasted to close for more than 150 years. And around the world, women have 23 percent of the political power that men hold.4 Around the world, women are paid, on average, 60 to 75 percent of men’s wages. There are a few different reasons for this. Women have been more likely to work in informal employment and are more likely to be wage workers.5 Gender norms have been pervasive and many women, particularly in the Global South are, by default, constrained to domestic and unpaid work while they are caring for their children.6
There is more that each of us can do to stand up for the rights of women and to stand up for gender equality. For instance, we can encourage our female counterparts, raise awareness in our communities about the gender gap, avoid gender stereotypes, and stay educated on the progress of the gender equality movement.
Our artisan partner, Bright Endeavors, in Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Valorie Darling)
Female empowerment is a mission that is close to our hearts. We work with several groups in the United States that employ talented female artisans. In Chicago, Illinois, Bright Endeavors works with young mothers who are creating products such as soaking salts and sugar scrubs by hand. Bright Endeavors is a paid transitional jobs program, and female participants are provided with guidance and skills training programs in order to build their career paths and learn how to support themselves and their families in the long-term after their experience at Bright Endeavors. Through this program, they earn an income and have flexible schedules to care for their young children.
Our artisan partner, Downtown Women’s Center, in Los Angeles, California
We also work with several women in Los Angeles at the Downtown Women’s Center. The artisans at MADE by DWC work hard to make products like our soaps in small batches. MADE by DWC was created to support women who have experienced homelessness and to help them rise above the poverty line.
The Little Market is a women-led nonprofit organization that was founded in 2013 to empower female artisans around the world. We work to support these talented artisans, such as women at Bright Endeavors and MADE by DWC, in their hard work and dedication to creating a brighter future for themselves and their families. Please join us in raising awareness and standing up for women’s rights throughout the world.
The Little Market was founded by women to empower women through the sales of fair trade, handmade goods. Each of us can choose to support women through our purchases. We encourage you to learn more about the companies you shop from. Every dollar you spend makes a difference. Choosing to support companies that you believe in is a simple way to make a huge impact.
Here are a few questions you can ask: Does the company have women leaders? Do women earn as much and their male co-workers? Is the work environment supportive? Who makes the products and how are they made?
1 CNN – On Women’s Equality Day, a look back at the early fight for equal rights
2 USA TODAY – Women’s Equality Day: How equal are women in 2016?
3 Forbes – 7 Important Facts About The Global Gender Gap
4 Forbes – 7 Important Facts About The Global Gender Gap
5 UN Women – Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment
6 New York Times – How Society Pays When Women’s Work Is Unpaid