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International Women's Day

March 07, 2021

International Women's Day

“The WFTO community is full of exemplary women who are overcoming barriers and inequality.  Our movement embodies the fight for equality and gender justice.  Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day together!”

 

Our women producers. 

We’d like to take this opportunity to talk about our women producers in relation to women’s empowerment and gender equality within our fair trade organization.  We work with a team of around 50 artisans who are full time, permanent employees, about 25% of whom are women.  We also work on a more informal basis with groups of marginalised artisans, up to 100 women at a time, on upcycling projects.  While we realise that 25% for female full time employees is not a high percentage, it is quite an improvement from where we started.  When we first started, we had only men artisans working with us.  In the area of Jaipur where we work, many men felt it would be impossible to hire women and that it would only create ‘challenges’.  Our management disagreed and pushed to hire women and create not only a ‘safe space’, but gender equality in the work space. 

 

We started with only a couple women employees.  Gradually others heard about our company and joined.  Our management team organised and continues to run regular workshops with our full staff to discuss the meaning and significance of non-discrimination, gender equality, and respectful relationships. Over time, our male employees not only adjusted, they have become strong advocates for women’s rights and gender equality. There is a great deal of pride amongst our staff now (women and men) that we have a safe and equitable working space for everyone.

 

We have a foundation offering training both in life skills and specific work skills to women.  It is both necessary and challenging as many of the women we’ve worked with have little formal training or education and struggle with literacy. Many of the women artisans we’ve worked with also face difficult home situations.

 

We also run regular skills development training sessions for women artisans in the areas of quality checking, needle skills, product development.  Currently, most of our quality checkers are women.  They check the garments for stitching quality, finishing, measurements.  If flaws are found, they return them typically to a male stitcher for changes.  The men had to adjust to this and learn to work with the women as a team.  It did take time to achieve this, but we currently are proud to be able to say we’ve achieved this.  It is a small thing in the big picture, but gender equality can be won through a series of small steps taken on a daily basis.

 

Our women employees receive all the same rights and pay as men employees.  This includes equal pay for equal work, a safe and clean working environment, skills development, on time payments, transparent working relationships, no forced labor.  We have set up bank accounts, health insurance and pension funds for all employees. Women, by having a bank account and debit card in their own name, receiving salary payments into their own account, are able to control their finances and make better, more informed decisions, save money and spend it at their discretion.  They can receive micro loans through their employment with us, which helps pay for education, medical care, home improvements.  Not only are access to these services the same as our male employees, what it means in everyday life, is the gradual closing of the gender gap.  Women have more control over their money, their life circumstances and those of their daughters.  Yes, it is a slow, gradual process. We believe this is how lasting change is affected, by creating opportunities for women to empower themselves.   

 

While larger scale social changes take time, often a generation, the positive effects for women artisans within fair trade can be seen both now and in next generation.  For example,  both our men and women artisans have the financial means and strong commitment to keeping their daughters in school (for as long as their sons), to giving their daughters the same opportunities and support.  We have seen instances of fathers who themselves may only have a sixth grade education, supporting their daughters in finishing high school, in avoiding child marriage, supporting their daughter’s pursuit of job training.  We see mothers investing in the lives and well being of their daughters with as much commitment as their sons.  This is a huge social change, which comes largely from a combination of having financial stability and an equitable working environment through fair trade standards.  It is a powerful testimony to the ways in which people, individually and collectively, raise themselves up, when paid fairly for their work and treated with dignity and respect.




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Fit/Sizing/Care

FIT

Our styles are meant to give room to breath and move.  We use fine tailoring coupled with a relaxed, comfortable fit.

We use a fit guide for each of our styles to provide more information about the fit that was intended.

Slim Fit: a close fit to the body. Regular Fit: a comfortable, relaxed fit with room around the body. Generous Fit: a very loose fit (such as in our oversized blouses) with lots of room around the body for ease of movement.

SIZING

h4XS/ 36

h4S/ 38

h4M/40

h4L/ 42

h4XL/44

h4chest

h435.5 inches/ 90 cm

h437.5 inches/95 cm

h439.5 inches/ 100 cm

h441.5 inches/ 105 cm

h444.5 inches. 113 cm

h44cm extra from body

h4waist

h426 inches/ 66 cm

h428 inches/ 71 cm

h430 inches/ 76 cm

h432 inches/ 81 cm

h435 inches/ 89 cm

h4fitted

h4low waist

h428 inches/71 cm

h430 inches/76 cm

h432 inches/ 81 cm

h434 inches/ 86 cm

h437 inches/ 94 cm

h4fitted

h4hip

h437 inches/ 94 cm

h439 inches/ 99 cm

h441 inches/ 104 cm

h443 inches/ 109 cm

h446 inches/ 1

h44cm extra from body

WASHCARE

All garments have been washed several times during the printing/dyeing and manufacturing process.  

CARE for 100% cotton

We recommend cold water machine wash (up to 30 degrees celsius) with a bio detergent and either tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade for all of our 100% cotton garments/homewares (except for quilts).  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.  

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Cold water wash and low heat drying or line drying in the shade will increase the life of the garment, prolong the vibrancy of the colors and reduce energy use. Shrinkage on all cottons is minimal, approximately 3%.

Garments/homewares are dyed or printed using AZO free, low-impact, pigment or reactive dyes unless otherwise noted.  These dyes are color-fast, but care should still be taken to wash with like colors to retain the vibrancy of the colors.

CARE for 100% cotton quilts

For quilts with cotton fill, we recommend spot or light surface cleaning only with a damp cloth and mild detergent.  Eco-friendly dry cleaning is also recommended. 

CARE for herbal/vegetable dye items

Vegetable dyes are not colorfast and are specifically marked in the product description.  We strongly recommend that all vegetable dye products be washed once before use in a cold water wash with minimal detergent.  Wash separately. Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  Iron on reverse side.  Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Please keep in mind that indigo dye does continually fade over time.  This is the nature of true indigo dye and is not a defect, but rather a sign of the 'living' nature of the dye.

CARE for silk and cotton/silk

For our silk and cotton silk garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Dry cleaning using an eco-friendly service is also recommended.

CARE for linen and cotton/linen

For our linen and cotton linen garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.