It is no surprise to any of us that gender equality is a hot topic in our culture right now. But, what if it extends beyond our culture? What if it is more than just about being an American Citizen and is really about being a citizen of the world. Living outside of the United States does not make women immune to the oppressive powers of a biased economy, or the struggles of breaking into the job market. As women, we are joined together by the unified battle in finding our voice.
The CEO of the International Justice Mission reflects on the complexities of this global issue, stating that fighting for equality isn’t necessarily about implementing more laws and policies, because in fact, most oppressed people are actually living outside of the protection of the law. Applying this to the developing world, we can see that governments and law officers only perpetuate gender inequality through corruption and abuse of power. Specifically, in Haiti, oppression of women can be contributed to a variety of larger social issues, one of which is their lack of access to the job market.
Keeping the oppressed out of the job market in Haiti is not necessarily an accident. One phycologist suggests that economic, legal, and social intimations are established to uphold power structures currently, in place, so that economic growth doesn’t trickle down. The classic case of the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. A long history of corrupt leadership has cemented large class inequalities within Haiti, and by 2008, Haiti had the second largest overall income gap [in the world] between the very rich and the very poor. This statistic is especially appealing when we consider that less than 50% of Haitian women have formal employment. Not having consistent income is about so much more than money. It is about not having access to education, not having consistency in food for the family, the inability to have independence, and and a general lack of freedom.
The disempowerment of women in Haiti and around the world doesn’t just affect the female gender, it also effects society as a whole. Many women are placed in a position of responsibility and care taking of their families. When there is no source of income for these women, the whole family suffers. This can be seen in the statistics of school enrollment. Only 65% of school age children are enrolled, and only 35% of those children will ever finish their primary education. As in most developing countries, school costs money. There are books, uniforms, special shoes, and annual fees. Leaving women out of the job market means devastating results for the next generation.
Although these statistics can seem overwhelming, there are solutions. This is where Allmade comes in. The manufacturing facility in Haiti intentionally employees women, helping to bridge the gender gap of inequality. These women not only have a consistent income, they also have the emotional security of being in a safe work environment. Creating opportunities for women in the workplace helps with family preservation. When moms have a job, they are able to care for their families, and send their kids to school. This has a direct positive impact on the next generation. Not only are little boys getting the chance to get educated, but now little girls are too. These jobs are changing the way we see the world, and changing the way the world sees themselves.
Thank you for choosing brands like Allmade who aim to make the world a better, and cleaner place. It is with your purchases that we can continue employing men and women internationally and create a cleaner planet.