Mata Loves Moms
- Laura Mobley
- 27 Apr, 2017
In honor of today being Take Your Daughter (or Child) to Work Day here in the U.S., and in anticipation of Mother's Day, we figured some of you might be wondering what it's like to be a working mom at one of our partner cooperatives. You're curious, right?
According to Indian laws, women are guaranteed 3 months of paid maternity leave and job protection – this would be great (and is still better than the maternity leave policy in the U.S.), except many employers overlook these laws. There were over 900 lawsuits filed regarding maternity law violations in the past several years, with likely many, many more unreported cases involving women who were unable to take legal action.
Few employers offer flexible working hours or daycare, and many won’t offer extended maternity leave, even if there are ongoing medical issues, forcing most women to quit their jobs after having a child.
With around only a quarter of Indian women returning to work after having children, it's no wonder a fair trade artisan cooperative is a great place to work! At Mata, we value the importance of working with producer groups who provide support and services to their members, especially mothers.
Our partner cooperative in Nepal has a daycare right next to the production unit where the stitchers work. If their kids aren't old enough to attend school, moms can bring their kids to the daycare. This is super helpful for the co-op members – they don't have to go through the stress of scheduling or paying someone else to watch their children (moms out there know what a hassle this can be!). Plus, they can see their kids whenever they want while at work!
Some of the kids at our Nepal cooperative's daycare center.
You can see, frequent visits with mom make for some happy kiddos!
Our jewelry artisans have organized an after school program for neighborhood kids, many of them with parents who work at the cooperative. The children come to the center after school until their parents are done at work. There are two teachers, one for younger children around kindergarten age and one for older children.
The younger kids spend some time with the ABCs, and the older children are tutored on subjects like Math, Science, Hindi, and English. A few of the kids said they love Math and Hindi, and on the day of this photo they were learning subtraction and days of the week in English.
Naseem, the head of our jewelry workshop, with his son.
Many women who work at our partner cooperatives have explained that homemaking and childcare tends to be the woman's responsibility in Indian/Nepali households, so working isn't always feasible for much of the female population. Being able to provide a second income while fulfilling their motherly responsibilities is a great opportunity, and their children happen to love it, too.
Happy Mother's Day!