As part of our ethical commitment, we feel it is necessary to document the perspective of the women we employ. While the term ‘ethical fashion’ is often used in marketing campaigns, the workers perspective is seldom heard. At Saheli Women we are committed to total transparency. We believe that this allows all interested parties to better understand our organization and the way we operate.
During a studio visit one day we sat down with our ladies and conducted a focus group on their opinions and the work that they are doing. We have collected their words below:
*Interviews were conducted in Hindi and translated to English
Why Women? What is female empowerment to you?
“If one woman is happy it affects so many families. Everyone has made their families and husbands happy. Sons, husbands, everyone is happy. It’s all hard earned money.”
“When we earn money on our own we feel very proud. We feel very proud to be earning money on our own: whether it’s 2,000 rupees or 10,000.”
“Earning an income is female empowerment.”
“I am an example of woman empowerment.”
What was it like when you first got involved?
“My whole life became centimeters and inches, suddenly this concept of measurement came into my life.”
“I used to stay at home. Now I am coming here and socializing.”
“Earlier, a lot of people used to tell me that this was a short term government project, that they would earn their money and then the program would disappear.”
What is it like working in the studio?
“The main reason the ladies and I are working here is that this is the only female studio. No dealing with men. It doesn’t matter if my head is covered or not. This creates a happy safe working environment”
“It’s really not about the money because I am of an older age. I view it as a safe and happy working environment.”
“We help and motivate the newcomers. It’s a really tight community, we all really care for each other.”
“I now socialize and it’s a fun place to work.”
What were your challenges?
“Learning new skills: in the beginning, I had to learn three new stitches. Learning is always a challenge, coming out from the family is always a challenge.”
“I used to travel 7 kilometers from a farm to come to work. In the beginning, I only made clutches.”
Goals for the Future?
“We need to link more ladies with the project!”
-Rukiya and Geeta