I hate the term “Empowering Women.” Empowering Women has become the term used when you offer a woman a job or an opportunity. In many cases more of a marketing term to place on a website or in blog posts or Facebook rant. What were we doing before this term now overused and without meaning grabbed the spotlight?
Women’s Empowerment Principles:
Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families, and communities.
How does this work if you are attempting to Empowering Women, where do you start?
In Guatemala, I have a great friend, a supporter of Boston Newborn Care, and our work. In turn, I admire James Dillon’s work in Guatemala, he never uses the term Empowering Women, and Enabling is his preferred means to express his work with Ethical Fashion Guatemala.
James works mostly with Mayan Women Weaving Artisans, in the remote Highlands of Guatemala. The textiles are all handmade dyed from plant seeds, natural cotton, and handspun into works of textile art. The weavers lacked access to technology; he enabled women to have access to websites, banking, and shipping.
Resulting in economic improvement, products sold internationally and sustainability for the weavers and other forms of Artisan works. Prior local Tourists were the customers, often bartering for a $20 scarf that took a week to weave.
James stresses the fact that Ethical Fashion Guatemala is a business, not a None Profit-seeking donation or a project. Artisans need work and sales, not donations.
Two years ago, James’ life in Guatemala changed, Fashionista wrote an article about how from Guatemala James forced ETSY, the on-line handcraft portal to remove thousands of Copyright works of Artisans from their website. The story went Viral.
Think about James’ story next time you see a sign or website about Empowering Women. I am today thinking how can I Enable more women??