April 2, 2019
Equal pay day was started in 1996 as a way to highlight the wage gap between what men and women earn in the workforce. To emphasize the importance of raising awareness for the difference, the reason it is April 2nd is because it symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. That means the average woman must work sixteen months to earn what a man can earn in 12.
Here in Guatemala, women are not average. They work incredibly hard and their wages don't reflect that effort. We want to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of raising up women everywhere, highlighting the talent and dedication of our artisan partners, and shattering the glass ceiling.
We pride ourselves on paying our artisan partners more than fair wages to help bridge the gap even further, because while women everywhere are making strides forward, Guatemala stands little farther in the past. More than just a network for empowering women, we lead by example- we are a network of empowered women.
Actions speak louder than words, and our words speak pretty loudly- so we have to support women within our office the same way we support women in our community. On our regular office staff we have 7 women helping us break barriers and complete awesome projects every day, that come from all different backgrounds. For us, equal pay day is about more than just equal pay, it's about equal rights in the workplace. So it's pretty special to us that our team is made up entirely of women.
We're a total of seven- three Guatemalan women, two of whom are indigenous, and four Americans who live full time in Panajachel. Many working women in Guatemala work from home or in unstructured settings that provide no benefits and less than minimum wage. In a country where women make up more than half of the population but only 40% of the workforce, we are incredibly proud of our team for leading the way in what an equitable, women-led workplace can look like.