As you might know, Pretty ECO is based in the Netherlands and today is a special day here, but maybe not one many people are aware of. Though pay day is usually seen as a happy day, equal pay day is actually not. It highlights the fact that unfortunately women are still highly underpaid compared to men, even in our Western society. On average women have to work 2 months longer in a year to earn the same as men, I find this pretty shocking.
Though in the Netherlands and other Western countries we should continue to fight for this inequality, I would like to focus on and even bigger inequality today. Because in the home country of our producer, Sri Lanka, they fight for an even bigger difference.
Sri Lanka is a developing country and growing rapidly. 60% of employers in the country report that they have difficulty in finding enough employers, while only 36% of women in Sri Lanka work and in case they have children under the age of 5 they are even 7.4% less likely to work. Unfortunately women often don’t get the same chances and education as the men which does not make them suitable for all the employers looking for staff (source: Worldbank). And sadly Sri Lankan women’s already poor rates of labor force participation continue to decline despite steady economic growth.
One of the most important ways to fix poverty in Sri Lanka is by giving women jobs. And since we like positivity at Pretty ECO we would like to share with you some stories of improvement.
As we’ve shared in our post about Fairtrade, to be able to obtain a Fairtrade certificate one of the conditions is that the employer does not discriminate. We can tell you our producer definitely doesn’t do that (well maybe he discriminates men actually). With over 30 women working at the workplace and only a handful of men, it was amazing to see such a working female environment in Sri Lanka. We actually got to talk to some of the women and asked them how they liked working at the paper workplace.
Amanda was our supermodel (main image) and though she said she was very shy her picture turned out so beautiful! She shared that she really enjoyed working at the workplace.
We also talked to some of the women called Laskshani, Madushani and Laksika. They shared that they all work in the creative department and work on things like cutting out shapes, glueing the notebooks together, drawing and painting some of the items (like this hand drawn card) and making shapes out of paper mâché. When one of the woman named Gitani asked me if I wanted to help her cut out one of the elephant shapes I willingly did so! It took me about 10 minutes to get one done while she told me she could cut out up to 500 of these in a day. A little shocked I asked her if that was what she had to do all the time but luckily she told me that they rotate jobs every day. So that day she was cutting, the next day she could paint etc. I asked the girls what their favorite job was to do at the workplace and all of them replied with drawing or painting! It was really amazing to see how talented all these ladies were and how precisely and with care they executed their job.
Though Pretty ECO mainly focuses on the fact that 10% of our profits go to elephants in need and the fact that the products are sustainable, knowing that we get to support these women by providing them with safe and fair paying jobs is an amazing feeling. If you want to support them, please check out our products. By continuing to buy from them we can help support female empowerment in Sri Lanka.