Woman: Acceptable Exploitation for Profit

(Kristie Drucza) #21

During my time at AusAID, I managed a research program on women’s entrepreneurship in the Pacific Islands. Noting the heterogeneity of the Pacific, several important constraints to the effective economic participation of women were revealed and some solutions suggested for governments, donors and businesses. Maybe not all but some of these relate to other countries. I currently work in Nepal and the issue of family responsibilities (the lion’s share of which falls on women’s shoulders) being a barrier to female business growth holds true.
Main research finding on the barriers to women’s economic empowerment:
• Women’s economic activity has predominantly been in the informal sector or within households, and has thus been either poorly remunerated or not all. As a result, little information exists about their work, and their contribution remains undervalued.
• Sex-disaggregated data: Many commercial bank and business licence data, census and household income and employment surveys are not sex disaggregated.
 Gender analysis is needed to shed light on the intra-household gender relations and processes that have an impact on household and family-run businesses. This would offer an alternative model for understanding economic growth processes and allow policy-makers to factor the needs of women into policies and programmes.
• Lack of access to credit and finance: This is one of the most important barriers for women’s businesses in the region. Mainstream banks do not give out unsecured loans and as women often have limited land rights, they usually have to look to family members for funds and to guarantee loans. According to commercial banks, the most common loan taken out by women with regular employment is school fee loans. Some micro-finance programs exist across the Pacific and support women but offer limited business skills training which effectively keeps women engaged in micro, informal enterprises. There are very few support services to help women graduate from micro finance to commercial bank loans.
• Limited production capacity: Many Pacific Island businesses cannot access export markets because they are unable to produce the volume of goods required, or lack negotiating skills. As a result some NGOs, e.g. the Women in Business Development Foundation (WIBDI) in Samoa, are promoting products that are unique to the Islands to niche markets (e.g. virgin coconut oil sold at fair prices to the Body Shop UK is giving Samoan farmers WST$800 a week when the average Samoan salary is approximately WST$100).
 Many ethical traders are interested in purchasing from the Pacific but international fair trade labelling certification standards are adverse, or do not acknowledge, Pacific community structures.
• Limited mobility: This can be due to cultural factors, household responsibilities, and poor infrastructure. Most rural women sell their products at local markets. Those that do travel to larger urban markets have to pay expensive transportation fees (transport is a male dominated sector), undertake considerable hardship and risk theft of their goods.
• Soft targets: Women are easy to victimise and harass. Stories were heard of negative business repercussions associated with lengthy delays due to “missing” paperwork, corruption and dishonest accountants. Additionally, local governments are deriving large amounts of revenue from “taxing” informal sector female operators.
• Lack of skills and experience: Average literacy rates, especially among women, are low in the region. Production and accounting skills are also weak. There is a dire need for practical business-oriented training as well as theoretical lecture-based lessons that are affordable to women and offered at suitable times for business women juggling family responsibilities. Women need training in the areas of product diversification, planning and budgeting, marketing and packaging for product development.
 Stories were heard of domestic violence inhibiting women’s economic potential. A house Mary in PNG had her hands cut off by her husband when she refused to give him her earnings.
• Existing family obligations and domestic responsibilities: Women’s increased participation in the market economy, paid employment and other such activities happens in addition to their existing traditional and social roles, which includes household duties and childcare. In many cases, running small businesses can impose further pressures on them, and leave them with little time to attend meetings, training, etc. The number one reason women’s businesses fail is due to family (wontok) obligations.
• Policy environment: Government commitments to gender equality vary across the region. The government of Tonga is yet to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the constitution offers little rights for women. While other Pacific Islands researched have ratified CEDAW, the implementation and education of women’s rights has not eventuated.

(Narayan James Bond) #22

I am employing rural poors in India for making textile for last 40 years contineously for export. My experience is the capablities of poor producers is the crime point. Further goods produced by rural poors and exported all the 50 years is semi processed materials , mostly destructive creation for and in fashion world.Chemical poisoned paints on dolls and dyes . In the name of gowth global market was swelling with ego fashion. Now Meltdown ruined that too. Change arrived . Had the designers and large scale producer were not using short product life cycle the price of product would not be poor and excess in volume .I t would have remained and be organic durable profit generating for all in the long run good for mother earth . .

Take an example , In the pitch dark of lack of vision , the Life time lasting Denim was cut short to 3 /4 years.
The end result everbody lost the earning , competitive and imitative arrived , end users were exploited, in the name of volume order exporters were exploited. Chemical and Radio active nano material as dyes used now .It is 10 times more expensive as it need large machines ,than hand made. Giant business giant science tech whom it benifits .

Women were in the large sense abused by science and corrupt industrialists and media dream merchants. They are ready to work at rate available ,other wise they have to go to prostitution only.

Now I employ less numbers and produce durable 18 th century reproducton Denim jeans it sells at better price as it is 100% organic and natural.I pay now the better wages.Now possible to sell on web b2b portals.

Every craft unit in and around my village districts in the 40 years were shut, who were fashion goods making . The enterprenurs did not evolve market need changed fast. The gap is real culprit and threat.

Further all women do not need work. Only those who lost husbands or earning in family only must work as there is motive to meet world class standard. In india it is sinful take work in a rigorous factory from women , they were angles guardian of wealth and provider of culture and traditional support to family , this is the reason why their products are not worth in global selling.

In all working women families love, relationship, care and prosperity is lost . Money is not for buying happiness what is lost in the home. Cultural enrichment is wealth , health is wealth, relationship and love is wealth, theyare guardians of inherited wealth of tradition and culture especially in India. . Their place is home. Let us not through the western filth on the face on rural civilisation.It is okay for urban mass civilisation. Further leader among women all these centuries are from up rooted families or from urban families. They have no vision of what is happening in the whole scene.

We have to see the whole of life not in our view . All NGO s failled all these decades. Accept the facts behind system is failing . Un educated rich rural women is like pure gold and siver . Educated philanthropic rich urban women is also platinium and diamonds but they were artificial ones radio active nano moleculed gold and silvers. Un educated rural riches are baking into forward, urbans are forwarding into back . So it is system problem holistic view need be checked , because it is dark where truth is hidden , many hesitate to educate themsleves , young NGOs rush, intrested govts flags to collect votes.
Poors in Africa or India are assests invisible . They produce more $ wealth per hectare and quality meat and milk in sheeps than Ranchers meat in USA or Australia.Technology is expensive in nature where the Labour is cheap available was forgotton .Consumers were floating on dreams and could not learn the tricks of Indusrtials and fashion designers .

Rural women know by instinct what is wrong with Michael Jackson fans fashion . THEY REFUSED TO PRODUCE QUALITY and find pride . Now they make Organic and Natural Denim to last 100 years . They find meaning in it, and it does sell for me. It is sustainable work by usual

Hence we are at 3millanium , let this be fresh one .

(Virginia Lawrence) #23

A woman lawyer from India that is assisting me in some matters has made me aware of Lijjat. Lijjat is an incredible business venture that began in 1959. Lijjat is one of India’s most promising movements that is incredible for me to comprehend; over a 50 year period 42,000 women spanning India work together; in profit and loss to create an in home business that thrives without men.

These women are just amazing as a business model, in so much as they started using their own financial resources and without large loans: http://www.rediff.com/money/2005/apr/15spec.htm - they did begin with the advice of a male benefactor who helped them immensely begin in or around 1959 … The “seven sisters”, started production with the modest sum of 80 rupees, borrowed from a good Samaritan, Chaganlal Karamsi Parekh, a social worker with entrepreneurial brains.

I believe that Lijjat has overcome so many barriers and that as an example of women working with women exclusively to help pull each other out of poverty and create a viable working business is worth a Nobel in Entrepreneurship …

Read more about Lijjat at http://the3rdgoal.com/Women/shri-mahila-griha-udyog-lijjat-papad-wikipedia-the-free-encyclopedia-1/