Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012
The Challenge for Women in India
From the moment of birth women in India face many hardships in life. Gender discrimination is a reality for Indian women. It is a battle to stay alive, to go to school, to avoid abuse, to wait until adulthood to marry, to go to college, to have a career, to choose their own husband and to be in control of their fertility.
In a recent poll by TrustLaw, India was ranked the worst country in which to be born a woman. "Child marriage, foeticide and infanticide, sexual trafficking, domestic slave labor, domestic violence and high maternal mortality all make India worst of the G20." (TrustLaw).
Our Solution: The Girl Effect
It is difficult to muster hope when we learn that 44.5% of girls in India are married before the age of 18 and that 56,000 women died in child birth in 2010. But I do believe we can bring light where so much darkness persists.
It's called the Girl Effect. It means investing in girls and women to fight poverty and end gender discrimination. According to the Girl Effect's Fact Sheet, when a girl receives an education she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. That's why we donate 15% of our profits to educate girls in India. Learn more about our educational initiatives.
Another Girl Fact involves educating mothers. Research indicates 'a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers'. The artisan groups we work with are also empowerment centers, educating mothers not only how to read and do math but also teaching them about health, nutrition and sanitation. Learn more about our artisan groups.
In addition to funding education for women, we offer our artisans fair wages, opportunities for growth, a positive, supportive work environment and an outlet for artistic expression. We work with three groups so we can have a deeper, long-term effect on their lives.
If we each do our part to raise awareness, support businesses and organizations that are fighting poverty and discrimination and put pressure on our policy makers, we have an impact. By improving the life of even one child, one mother, one family, one village, we make an important difference. So I say, let it begin with me. How about you?