March 5th, 2015 - This Sunday marks International Women’s Day. Observed since the turn of the 20th century, what started as a socialist movement has grown to become a global day of recognition across developed and developing countries. Thousands of events will be hosted worldwide to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organizations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day. In 2015, the UN theme for International Women's Day is "Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!"

From Oscar acceptance speeches to Super Bowl commercials, “empowerment” is quickly becoming much more than a socially conscious buzzword. Empowerment, namely the empowerment of women around the world, is turning into a full-fledged global movement.

It was this global spirit of empowerment that inspired the genesis of the TreadRight Heritage Initiative. As we’ve noted before, the decision to support artisans - in concert with the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise – was made with the goal of empowering those individuals in the places The Travel Corporation’s family of brands visit.

The fact is, women make up an overwhelming majority of the world artisan sector. For many, their livelihoods depend on the income from their artisan activities. Support for the international artisan community helps create jobs where there otherwise might not be work and fosters community development, while also sustaining venerable techniques and cultural touchstones.

Time and time again and around the globe studies prove that empowering women creates comprehensive positive change as families flourish, communities thrive, and economies develop faster.

Women-run artisan enterprises help women gather and identify community needs such as health and human rights, they provide opportunities for healing after conflict, and generate opportunities for personal growth and leadership.

This close tie between supporting artisans and empowering women is why our inspiring partners at the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise were in attendance for the annual Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award ceremony today in Washington, DC. 

“We are honored to attend the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award, which annually recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk,” says Peggy Clark and Natalie Deuschle of the Alliance for Artisan Enterpise. “The Alliance is proud to partner with the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues in supporting the artisan sector, which behind agriculture, is the second largest employer in many developing countries, employing thousands of people, many of whom are women.  We are continuously inspired by the women leaders and artisans within the Alliance and are delighted to be representing them at the IWOC Awards.”

While The Travel Corporation’s family of brands – along with the many other organizations that have partnered with the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise -  directly helps support artisan enterprises through the Heritage Initiative artisan grants program, there are also myriad options to support these exceptional endeavours while travelling or at home.

For instance, take a moment to visit the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise’s Members page and check out the work being done. Many of the members have made their handicrafts available to order online. Next time you are shopping for a gift – or even yourself (not need to feel guilty, it’s for a great cause!) – be sure to browse their offerings. By the very nature of their artisanal work you’re guaranteed to be purchasing high-quality, handcrafted, culturally significant and durable quality products.

And what better bonus to a gift than being able to tell the recipient of the special item that its production is supporting the empowerment of women around the world?

Of course, you can also help support the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise directly here! Make your International Women’s Day donation your symbolic gift to the women around the world who are raising families, inspiring communities and driving one of the most powerful movements for positive change in the world today! 




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