“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave – to embrace the strength within themselves and realize their full potential. ” Malala Yousafzai
Welcome to Kinship, and our blog. This blog will be written by the team at Kinship and will feature our artisans, changemakers, partners and community around the world. We will endeavor to represent the women, their voices, their crafts and their history. Our goal will be to connect their voices to ours, and lift our community together.
As you know Kinship works with female artisans in vulnerable communities worldwide to codesign and cocreate exclusive, one-of a kind cushion covers, throws and blankets handwoven from ethical, sustainable textiles. Our mission is to empower women in vulnerable communities through job creation and fairly paid work for women.
Why have we chosen to focus on women? Actually, there is a very rational reason, besides the very emotional connection and kinship that I feel towards supporting other women. If women participated in labor markets at the same rate as men, we would add $28 trillion to the global economy by 2025 according to McKinsey. That’s a 26% increase in the global economy! This is why gender parity is not a women’s issue—it’s an economic imperative. Women’s participation in all areas of society is essential to make big and lasting change not only for themselves, but for all people.
And why crafts and artisans? During my research I also discovered that the artisan sector is the second-largest employer in the developing world after agriculture, worth over $32 billion every year. Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, mostly women, participate in the artisan sector.
The answer seems simple. Women need jobs and the artisan sector has a huge potential to deliver those jobs. But, artisan businesses are seldom recognized as drivers of economic growth. And artisan entrepreneurs lack access to the tools and resources needed to succeed in the global marketplace. These workers, who are predominantly women, have been largely overlooked and underserved.
We believe that there is a huge opportunity in supporting the artisan sector, in particular women in the artisan sector- creating job opportunities for women, and contributing to economic growth globally. We believe that women are an important key to economic development in emerging markets.
Our goal is to provide the access to global markets, the design input and collaboration to cocreate products that are relevant to a global market and the income to the artisans to enable them to sustain and grow their businesses for the long term.
And we want you to be a part of our journey- to bring you into the conversation. We can make as much of a difference in our lives as we can in theirs. We hope to enable and support this conversation, and creating a better future and understanding for all of us.
In the words of Melinda Gates- If you search for poverty, you will find women who don’t have power. If you explore prosperity, you will find women who do have power and use it.
We, who have privilege have the power to make a difference in the lives of these women who don’t, and in the development and prosperity of developing nations. We are offering the opportunity to those of us who have rights and power and prosperity to make a difference in the lives of the women who have not. Together we can lift women, and humanity - and make a difference in our lives- and theirs.
I hope that you will consider joining our community, and our journey. We would be honoured to have you with us.
Yours, in kinship, Lesley Pennington