comprise the largest percentage of informal laborers worldwide. According
to the United Nations, nearly 90 percent of all women in developing countries
are engaged in some form of artisanal activity throughout the year, though
only a fraction receive remuneration for their effort.
Craft production is an important source of income and stability for thousands
of people living in isolated or impoverished areas. It employs local people,
uses local resources, and fosters development from the grassroots up.
Centuries-old designs and techniques are an integral part of an indigenous
people's cultural identity and survival. Keeping craft traditions alive
strengthens pride in one's heritage, and provides an incentive to preserve
and sustain disappearing cultures.
Building on local resources reduces migration to urban centers and strengthens
communities. Furthermore, our research shows that women artisans tend
to reinvest their earnings into healthcare and education for themselves
and their families. Crafts are a means to develop decent labor conditions
and fair trade practices.
Because crafts are often traditionally produced by women, developing crafts
production contributes to women's economic independence and social empowerment.
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