Every August in the US, people around the country celebrate Women’s Equality Day, a day to mark when women could vote for the first time in the US. Over 90 years later in 2014, Women’s Equality Day gives everyone a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come, and what is still left to do for women’s equality.
One of the many focuses of Women’s Equality Day this year, is the right of women to equal pay. According to The White House, women in the US continue to earn less than men for doing the same work, and throughout the world women continue to earn less then their male counterparts. (For more info, check out this great infographic by Movehub.)
Here at Trama Textiles, as a cooperative founded and run by women, we strongly believe in women earning an equal wage to men, wherever they are in the world. Today however, what we really want to focus on is the right for women to earn a fair wage.
In Guatemala, many indigenous communities are reliant on the income from the beautiful weavings that their women make, but unfortunately, in many cases, the women do not receive a fair wage for their work.
As many women do not speak Spanish and live in remote areas, it can be difficult to make the connections they need to sell their weavings for a fair price. So many women have to work with middlemen, who buy their weavings at a very low price and use them to make a profit for themselves, selling them cheaply at markets around Guatemala.
Trama Textiles was set up to make sure women weavers in Guatemala are given a fair price for the textiles they produce. When our artisans come to deliver their weavings, they determine the price they are paid, depending on the hours they have worked, and we pay them up front so they have money to take home the same day. This has enabled the women to provide for their communities and to carry on the beautiful art of traditional Mayan weaving.
However, there are still many women who have to work with middlemen, and many people still prefer to buy these cheaper weavings rather than spending a few more dollars to make sure women weavers are paid properly.
So today, on Women’s Equality Day, we’d like to ask all visitors to Guatemala to think about where their clothes and woven souvenirs come from, and whether they could be making better choices to support the women who made them. And we ask everyone else to think carefully about where the things you buy come from, and whether you too could be making better choices to support women around the world.
Remember, we are all the change!
You can support us by visiting our Etsy store, to see some of our amazing handwoven fair wage accessories and homeware, made by the women in our 100% worker-owned weaving cooperative.
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