Covid-19 has turned our lives upside down, but it’s having a particularly hard impact on women ad girls around the world. According to the United Nations, they’re generally earning less, saving less and holding insecure jobs or living close to poverty. But, adds the report, women and children are also key to creating a better and more sustainable economic future.
One woman who wouldn’t disagree with that is Jennifer Georgeson, the founder of the ethical online store So Just Shop. Jennifer has spent her life helping women, from researching the prevention of mother-to-baby transmission of HIV in Zambia to working with impoverished communities in Delhi.
Her work showed her one thing: that women were instrumental in changing the societies around them, that if you give a woman the chance to earn, her whole community benefits. She began So Just Shop in 2015 to allow them to do exactly that.
“Women are more likely to invest in their family and local community,” she says. “Economic empowerment of women saves lives, increases education and improves the social indicators of whole communities.”
What is So Just Shop?
So Just Shop is a fashion accessories, homeware and gifting site selling beautiful pieces handcrafted by female artisans in 35 of the most vulnerable communities in the world. Its mission is the economic empowerment of the artisans – Jennifer and her team aim to raise 250,000 women and their families out of abject poverty.
(If all this sounds familiar, that’s because I covered So Just Shop last year as I think it’s a fantastic initiative.)
However, Covid-19 has well and truly put a spanner in the works. As the UN report shows, coronavirus is having a devastating impact on the communities where these women work, both in terms of health and the economic impact.
We’re worried in the UK, where we have a safety net around us with the welfare state that helps most people. Imagine if you don’t have that and suddenly your livelihood has been taken off you? To not be able to buy the basic necessities of life? It certainly puts the bulk-buying of toilet rolls in context…
So while So Just Shop wants to be able to continue to support all of its artisan suppliers and are working online to do this, many of the female artisans are unable to work or produce their goods due to imposed lockdowns.
How is it helping vulnerable communities?
After all her years’ experience, Jennifer is not going to let this stop her. She’s devised a scheme to enable the women to continue helping their families and communities.
She’s contacted artisans in some of the most badly-hit areas and asked them to design a product that they can produce and supply once the world is back to “normal”. There’s a whole range of beautiful pieces available, from earrings and bracelets to scrunchies, bags and card-holders.
They’re all available for pre-purchase and 100 per cent of the profits will go directly to the women to help them through this bad time. And once we’re back to some sort of normality, your piece will be produced and shipped to you.
You can also make a voluntary donation to your purchase that will equate to a specific staple item for the family to buy. So you can buy a bag of rice or flour, for example, or a basket of veg. So Just Shop will make sure the funds get to those in need as soon as possible so they can continue to care for their families during this horrible time.
As Jennifer says: “So Just Shop really hope you will be able to offer your support for this initiative, as many of you have done so the past. It has never been a more critical time to continue that support than at present. Thank you.”
I’ve earmarked the Tara Krisha bracelet for a Christmas present. What about you?
To pre-purchase a piece and help communities hit by coronavirus, visit So Just Shop