“One Girl with Courage is a Revolution”
“Studies show that over 60% of illiterate youth globally are girls and that women and girls make up the majority of the world’s poor; they also show that just an extra year of schooling increases women’s wages by up to 20% later in life. Educating girls yields a higher rate of return than any other investment in the developing world.”” —http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/one_girl_nepal
One of the most successful weaving restoration programs was formed in response to the cultural decimation of the Jalq’a community in Bolivia. Anthropologists of the Southern Andes (ASUR) has restored Jalq’a culture and economy through it’s ability to reach an international market and by making weaving economically viable for the Jalq’a community (Healy, 2001). The primary group to benefit from ASUR’s program are women weavers, who not only gained economic power, but were also given more leadership opportunities in their families and communities. With an increase of self confidence, spurred by economic independence, female weavers are shifting the traditional power dynamics between men and women.
Creating economic opportunities for women also creates greater opportunities for women’s families, as women are shown to be more likely than men to invest their earnings in their children and community, especially education and health. For example, one of the women in the Yanamilla Prison program told us that she used the money she earned from our program to pay for her daughter’s university tuition- breaking the cycle of incarceration in her family.
Weaving restoration also helps women by creating a form of income that is drawn from their own community, as weavers are encouraged to use local resources and knowledge stemmed from their culture. This model not only preserves cultural traditions such as weaving, but on a larger level, reinforce a community’s group ethnic identity and indigenous autonomy (Stephens, 1991).
Ruraq Maki believes that by creating economic opportunities for women through traditional knowledge, women are shown that their skills and ideas have equal value and are thus encouraged as leaders. When women have confidence in their ability and capacity to lead, profound changes are on the horizon.
Resources used for this 3-part series:
Cohen, J. H. (1998). “Craft Production and the Challenge of the Global Market:
An artisan’s cooperative in Oaxaca, Mexico”. Human Organization. 57(1), 74-82
Eversole, R. (2006). “Crafting Development in Bolivia”. Journal of International
Development. 18, 945-955.
Eversole, R. (2007). “Making Us Marketable: Reframing poverty through CED,
ethnodevelopment and women’s microenterprise”. International Journal of Business and Globalisation. 1 (3), 357-368.
Healy, K. (2001). Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate: Multicultural grassroots
development in the Andes and Amazon of Bolivia. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press
McCafferty, S.D., & McCafferty, G.G. (1991). Spinning and Weaving as a Gender
Identity in Post-Classic Mexico. In M. Blum Schevill, J.C. Berlo, & E.B. Dwyer
(Eds.), Textile Traditions of Mesoamerica and the Andes (pp. 19-40). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Stephens, L. (1991). “Culture as a Resource: Four cases of self-managed
indigenous craft production in Latin America”. Economic Development and Cultural Change. 40 (1), 101-130.
Stephens, L. (1991). Export Markets and their Effect on Indigenous Craft
Production: The case of weavers of Teotitlan del Valle, Mexico. In M. Blum Schevill, J.C. Berlo, & E.B. Dwyer (Eds.), Textile Traditions of Mesoamerica and the Andes (pp. 381- 399). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Yetman, D., & M’Closkey, K. (2001). “The Sun is the Poor Mayo’s Cobija”: Mayo
weavers encounter neoliberalism. Anthropologica, 43(1), 71-86.
Zorn, E. (2004). Weaving a Future: Tourism, Cloth, and Culture on an Andean Island.
Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.