This article is sponsored by Coca-Cola. I received products from Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. As you know, my blog focuses on giving Women the confidence to travel and be independent, so women’s empowerment is a topic that I hold very close to my heart.
“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back” – Malala Yousafzai
It’s no secret that gender inequality is still a problem in developed nations today. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t still be holding rallies to encourage political leaders to take us seriously as equal members of society, or campaigning for governments and businesses to finally start making steps to close the gender pay gap.
Indeed, the way that women are treated and perceived still leaves a lot to be desired, however sometimes we take for granted the progress that has been made over the course of the past century, and the opportunities that we now have that our sisters in developing nations do not.
Imagine wanting to make an income but not having the resources or know-how to make it happen. So many women in developing countries are living below the poverty line and will never have the opportunity to follow their aspirations. It is a sad truth that in many cultures, men are still considered as the most promising gender, and families that can only afford to provide one of their children with an education will choose the boy almost every time.
Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program acknowledges that this is a problem, and aims to provide women around the World with the opportunity to start and sustain their business endeavors. The initiative focuses on giving these women a “hand up” not a “hand out”. In other words, providing the necessary equipment and resources, training courses and mentoring in order to help women entrepreneurs. Having started in 2010, the initiative aims to empower 5 million female entrepreneurs across Coca-Cola’s value chain by 2020.
Why is it so important to empower women?
“The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all” Aung San Suu Kyi
Besides providing these women with opportunities that they would not otherwise have, the empowerment of women has a direct positive effect on the economies in which they live and work. Extensive studies have shown that women typically invest 90% of their income into food, education, and healthcare for their children and families. In other words, when women succeed in their communities, the communities also rise to new heights of prosperity and health.
Meet The Women Artisans Empowered By 5by20
5by20 programs exist in 60 countries around the world and as of 2015, approximately 1.5 million women in these nations had been positively impacted.
This inspiring short video, “chain of inspiration” honors some of the amazing women that Coca-Cola is working with in their 5by20 initiative.
As demonstrated, a large focus of the initiative is on empowering women artisans. These talented women utilize products and materials that would otherwise become waste and transform them into beautiful handicrafts.
All items are handmade and the nice thing about them is that they reflect the culture of the countries in which they were made. As an avid traveler, I love collecting interior design pieces from around the world, and pieces that tell a story so I was really excited to see some of the items available. I think that it’s great to give a gift that not only tells a story, but which has improved a life.
This giraffe was handmade by women artisans in Kenya using recycled cans and telephone wire.
Handmade in Brazil, this pretty handbag’s design is influenced by the scales of the native Pirarucu fish and skilfully created using recycled PET scales.
Handcrafted by the Purple Community Fund, this glamorous bag is made in Manila using upcycled aluminium ring pulls.
These are just a few of the many beautiful handmade creations available through the 5by20 scheme. To take a look at the full range of products available, visit the store here.
To learn more about this initiative, visit the 5by 20 site here. The site offers additional background information on this worthy cause, in addition to individual stories and video accounts of the women whom have been positively impacted.
This International Women’s Day, March 8th, and every day, let’s celebrate women and their roles within our communities, families and workplaces.