Liberating Women through Handicraft Promotion

Economic independence is a proven route to the emancipation of women. It is especially valuable for those whose circumstances do not allow a complete education. A steady flow of income builds both security and self-respect. Conservative communities may have other obstacles which bind and oppress women. Perhaps issues related to discrimination against women are so deep rooted that no single measure can wipe the slate clean immediately and alone.

Nevertheless, poor and illiterate women in Algeria can only benefit if their skills and talents could be put to some use. Many of them may be conversant with aspects of Algerian culture from which they can make living wages. Others can learn simple trades, and work hard at developing innovative forms of trade.

The range and colors of Algerian handicrafts make it a perfect reference point for providing women with steady incomes. The country has such a delightful mix of international influences due to its unique history that the patterns and designs which have evolved here are distinctive and invaluable. Algeria trade can encompass artifacts in fabrics, clay, metals, and gems. Algerian rugs, baskets, pottery, brassware and jewelry are all items which people from anywhere in the world will love. They are also items that women in small groups, or even alone can begin to produce in the form of commercial enterprises.

Microfinance is a much vaunted way of providing self-employment to women of the less developed world, and it has indeed produced substantial and tangible results. The position of women in Bangladesh is not much better than in Algeria, and we know that microfinance has worked there. However, micro-finance alone is not enough. The funds may be taken away from a woman, or she may lose her way as she sets out in the unfamiliar fields of business. She may suffer transient set-backs at home, with respect to her health, or her family obligations. Someone has to help her along the way.

A cooperative business structure often works best. The unity of a group of women, rather than individuals on their own, can fill in for each other, and provide the resilience and stability needed for commercial success. However, even women in groups can do with professional help. Logistics and promotion are two business management areas in which professional expertise improves the chances of a new enterprise becoming successful.

You can help make a difference to the cause of women in Algeria. Support handicrafts made in that country. They will add color and beauty to your home, and are economical as well!