How Our Artisan Partners Are Creating a Gender Equal World
Today is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #EachforEqual where “we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world”.
The women that we partner with are the essence of Cielo and they contribute to creating a gender equal world through their incredible work. They come together every day to strengthen their families and communities through their ancestral and cultural knowledge of artisan techniques. By forming cooperatives and groups, it has allowed them to construct their own independence. The Jolom Mayaetik team explain that “the creation and use of collective spaces for women allows us to develop relationships, both within our communities, and also between our communities and the larger public, of a more equal nature. Our work thus contributes to a more just society”.
Myself and Vicky pictured with her Mother. Vicky now supports her mother and father through her craft. She has employed her mother to create her incredible designs, as well as 50+ women from her community.
The commercialisation and control over their designs has created more economic opportunities for themselves and their children. They invest in the education of their children, and importantly, their daughters. In a “machismo” culture, often young men are encouraged by their parents to study and are financially supported instead of their sisters. Girls may be encouraged to drop out of school to assist with household duties with the expectation that they will soon become wives and will have a household of their own to manage.
Two generations learning from each other at the Jolom Mayaetik Co-op in San Juan Chamula
Our artisan partner, Elvia from the Jolom Mayaetik Co-op explained to us that the average level of education for women in her town of Yochib was 5 years of age. Our artisan partners are trying to change that statistic. Their daughters are given choice and if higher education is not financially in reach just yet, their daughters now have the opportunity to learn within the co-operatives and grow into leadership positions. Positions that provide themselves with a steady income and a future.
There are so many more ways in which our artisan partners are creating a more equal world. They are achieving this by creating safe spaces for women, educating each other about women’s rights, providing education opportunities and sustainable employment.
"Indigenous Women Against Violence" - Mural depicting the activism and work of the Jolom Mayaetik women
Their work also sends a message to men in their communities, encouraging men to step up and support their efforts, to contribute to their fight for equality. They are changing the attitudes of boys and young men by breaking down stereotypes. They are also giving girls the opportunity to dream, to understand that they are equal and that they can achieve anything. Just like their mothers, aunties and grandmothers.
International Women's Day is a special day for us to reflect on how we are creating a gender equal world in our everyday lives. We are so inspired by the women we work with and their efforts in improving the lives of girls and women in their communities. By supporting their craft you are supporting so much more, so thank you to every one of our customers.
Head to the IWD website to learn more https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ and thank you so much for reading. You can read more about our artisan partners here: https://cielocollective.com.au/pages/the-artisans
- Skye & Moacir.
Margarita pictured with her mother in law and son - Role models for future generations