Supporting women in Ghana | Embracing Equity on IWD
Did you know women perform 75% of unpaid work globally? That’s things like housework, looking after children and elderly relatives, doing the food shop… you get the gist.
This all comes to a staggering 16.4 billion hours of domestic and social care every single day across the globe. The imbalance of this unpaid work is exacerbated further in developing countries and rural environments.
If valued fairly, unpaid care and domestic work could contribute 10-39% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Making ‘women’s work’ more valuable to the economy than manufacturing, commerce or transportation sectors.
That’s why we can’t simply think about women’s empowerment or women’s equality around International Womens Day and beyond, we must all go beyond that to embrace women’s equity.
What is the difference between equality and equity?
Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Whereas equity recognises each person has different circumstances and allocates the resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
“Time spent on unpaid care and domestic tasks usually mean women have less time and resources to spend on education and paid work.”
– Action Aid.
To ignore that women and girls shoulder considerably more work, however invisible or undervalued than their male counterparts is a disservice to the skills, energy and insight they can bring to society.
For us, to embrace equity is to acknowledge that women take on up to 14 hours of unpaid domestic work in countries we support like Ghana, Zambia and Ethiopia… and give them the tools and resources to start turning the tide on that expectation.
So, how are we embracing equity at Pala?
The weavers who make Pala’s cases in upper east Ghana are divided amongst 3 communities and are women-led.
Paying 2.5x the minimum wage
Giving women a respected income that is less likely to be de-prioritised for unpaid work.
Increased household wages mean children can stay in school, lessening the amount of social care required.
Weaving income has become a more stable and profitable source of income in comparison to agriculture, which is being increasingly impacted by the climate.
Women get to keep traditions and techniques alive that have been passed down through generations whilst being paid a fair wage.
Women’s paid weaving work is being viewed as valuable, and essential to a communities social mobility.
Time and security
Innovating to weave with recycled plastic saves women from undertaking long and sometimes dangerous trips into the bush to collect traditional elephant grass.
It’s not perfect, and our weavers still juggle conflicting priorities – but they do get to work around their own schedule, based on individual needs.
Plus, weavers tend to work together, and the unpaid work that still exists is shared, lessening the burden on any one woman. What’s that saying… it takes a village?
You can meet the weavers in all their glory through a few inspiring video’s here.
Recommended reading for womens equity:
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez
Disclaimer: We’d like to acknowledge that gender equity is a richly nuanced space. There’s intersectionalities and lived experiences we don’t have the expertise to dig into. But what we have aimed to do is highlight some of the impact we do understand through a close relationship with our weaving community. We always welcome feedback on how we can be more inclusive as a brand.