The Thomson Reuters Foundation poll has previously identified India as the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and forced labor. This puts India in a more precarious position compared to countries affected by war, such as Afghanistan and Syria. Additionally, India was placed at 140 out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) in 2021, which measures disparities in areas such as economic participation, education, political empowerment, and health1. In another post-pandemic poll, 65% of parents surveyed were reluctant to continue the education of girls, resorting to child marriages. This is due to economic struggles faced by families2.
These statistics are startling and paint a bleak picture of the realities for many women across the country. Anywhere in the world, but particularly in areas where women face significant inequality, the creation of dignified employment can have an incredibly powerful impact!
The Harsh Reality:
At Ziyada, the majority of our married artisans were married before the age of 18, some of them as young as 12 or 13. Only two of our artisans had ever been employed outside of the home when they joined our staff because of a lack of safe job opportunities. When Malo, a Ziyada artisan, joined our team in 2015, her family of 5 was living in a home with dirt floors and no running water. She didn’t have the means to buy essentials, like milk and vegetables, for her family, and all meals were cooked on an open fire.
A New Chapter for Artisan Malo:
After 9 years of fair wages, ongoing job training, and a supportive work environment, Malo’s life tells a different story. Today, all three of her children are thriving in school. Her oldest is finishing 12th grade with plans for continuing studies. Malo has built a home for her children, complete with a well ventilated kitchen, gas connection, and indoor plumbing. 9 years ago, she was depressed. Now, Malo works with joy and has become a safe place of confidence and help for neighbors, relatives, and friends. Access to dignified employment has changed the trajectory of her entire family, giving them economic stability and a new opportunities.
A Hopeful Future:
Malo’s transformation is a small picture of what could happen on a large scale if every company focused on creating and sustaining jobs that uplift the downtrodden! According to the latest projections by UN Women, UNDP, and the Pardee Center for International Futures, 388 million women and girls were living in extreme poverty in 2022. The pandemic has deepened poverty for women and girls, but with adequate intervention and a push to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to gender equality, decent work, poverty reduction, and reducing inequalities could dramatically alter this current reality. In fact, it’s estimated that aligning female employment rates in countries with high gender inequality to that of Sweden could boost GDP by over USD 6 trillion.3
The potential for change makes me both incredibly hopeful and grateful to play a small role in the story of change through the work we do at Ziyada. Discover the stories behind our products and join us in making a tangible difference in the lives of artisans like Malo. Your choice to shop ethically is more than a purchase—it’s a stand for dignity and hope. It is transforming lives and communities! Thanks for being an important part of uplifting women in India by shopping with and championing us. We are so grateful for you!
- https://www.kff.org/news-summary/india-ranks-as-most-dangerous-country-for-women-in-thomson-reuters-foundation-poll/ ↩︎
- https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2021/7/faq-women-and-covid-19-in-india ↩︎
- https://data.unwomen.org/features/poverty-deepens-women-and-girls-according-latest-projections ↩︎