Handwriting by Marisa Mangum
As a nonprofit founded by women to empower women, a core part of The Little Market’s mission is to advocate for women’s rights. We are proud to support female artisans and their handmade goods while celebrating their cultural traditions. We strive to create equitable economic opportunities for women and to raise awareness for their rights, including women’s equality.
Since 1971, Women’s Equality Day has been recognized annually on August 26 in the United States. This year marks the 98th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day. It presents the opportunity to reflect on achievements made while contributing to the ongoing effort toward equal rights. It also provides us with the chance to look forward to what is left to accomplish on the path to equality.
Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passing of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, which granted the right for women to vote in the United States. The 19th Amendment was passed in 1919 and ratified one year later. Many believe the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 contributed to the beginning of women’s suffrage. The movement’s leaders, including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott, developed a “Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions.” In a nonviolent political and civil rights movement, supporters shared petitions and speeches to raise awareness. We thank those before us who have raised awareness and led the movement toward equal rights.
While reflecting on these milestones, it’s also important to recognize how much is left to accomplish and what we can do to help.
- Many women and men, including African Americans and immigrants, were not able to vote due to certain voter suppressions. The Voting Rights Act in 1965 officially gave the right for all U.S. citizens to vote.
- Women and minorities continue to be underrepresented in politics. Women make up a greater share of U.S. and state lawmakers than ever in history, but the portion of women holding major political positions is still low in comparison. For instance, in 2016, women made up 12 percent, or six out of 50, of U.S. governors, according to NPR.
- Research shows that women of color are disproportionately underrepresented in leadership roles, particularly in elected offices. There are 107 women serving in the 115th U.S. Congress; 35.5 percent of them are women of color. Of the 73 women serving in statewide elective executive offices, 11 percent are women of color, according to the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics.
- With the gender pay gap, women continue to earn less than men. In 2015, U.S. Census data reported that the average woman will lose $431,000 throughout her career.
- For women of color, the disparities are even larger. Compared to their male counterparts, women of all major racial and ethnic groups are earning less, based on statistics from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research. For example, “Hispanic women’s median weekly earnings in 2017 were $603 per week of full-time work, only 62.2 percent of White men’s median weekly earnings, but 87.4 percent of the median weekly earnings of Hispanic men (because Hispanic men also have low earnings). The median weekly earnings of Black women were $657, only 67.7 percent of White men’s earnings, but 92.5 percent of Black men’s median weekly earnings.”
- In 2016, there were approximately 781 million illiterate adults throughout the world. Two-thirds of this figure are women. And 63 million girls still needed to attend school, according to Global Citizen.
- As of 2018, women hold 4.8 percent of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies, according to Catalyst.
At The Little Market, we are working toward achieving women’s equality every day. We started The Little Market to empower as many women as possible, without any limit by geography. Through fair trade principles, we support the empowerment of female artisans. Every purchase supports meaningful opportunities for the artisan groups we work with.
Photo by John Polak Photography for Prosperity Candle
We work with many inspiring female artisans around the world. Here in the United States, Prosperity Candle works with female refugees as they specialize in making hand-poured candles.
Photo Courtesy of The Little Market and Naguska
In Peru, female artisans at Naguska create beautiful stuffed animals while preserving techniques that have been passed down across generations.
Photo Courtesy of EllieFunDay
In India, many of the women at EllieFunDay are single mothers; some have experienced a form of domestic violence or abuse. By working together in a sewing unit, they have access to job security, safe housing, and dignified employment while implementing eco-friendly practices and preserving traditional techniques.
Photo by The Little Market
In Guatemala, female artisans working with Precious Hands learn how to design, produce, market, and sell their handmade goods, which are often repurposed from colorful and traditional Mayan huipil blouses. They can grow their businesses and access fair wages.
We celebrate how far we have come in the path to equality, while we also recognize that there are more advancements to be made. There is more that each of us can do to stand up for equal rights. Together, let’s help to raise awareness, educate one another, challenge gender norms, and stay educated on the progress of the gender equality movement.
To learn more, we encourage you to visit some of the resources below. To view our Women’s Equality collection and help to empower women, click here to our site.
Thank you for joining us in the movement toward equal rights and supporting our community!
Britannica – Women’s Equality Day
National Women’s History Project
National Women’s History Project – Women’s Equality Day
Fortune – Women’s Equality Day Celebrates the 19th Amendment
NPR – Almost 1 in 5 Congress Members Are Women. Here’s How Other Jobs Compare
Obama White House Archives
Global Citizen – 7 appalling facts that prove we need gender equality now
Makers – 21 Facts About Gender Inequality You Need To Know Now
Catalyst – Women CEOs Of The S&P 500
Institute for Women’s Policy Research: The Gender Wage Gap: 2017 Earnings Differences by Race and Ethnicity
Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics – Facts on Women of Color in Office