There is not enough that can be said of supporting the local artisans to boost the economy. Although the humble Prime Minister’s plea in the form of the ‘vocal for local’ campaign has picked up speed since the first half of 2020, we are far from achieving complete fruition on it.
Amid the focus on quick last-mile deliveries and lucrative sales, the humble artists and local artisans are always the ones to lose out. This is further made worse by their lack of infrastructure, a virtual presence, and the advent of COVID-19.
Needless to say, the pandemic has left many without an income and in an economy that is struggling to get back up on its feet; supporting local artists and vendors is our best bet. It may also be prudent to consider single mothers who have been laid off, homemakers who are struggling to make ends meet, and women who have finally found their calling.
Let us understand why we should support female Indian artisans and how it can help kick start the economy post-COVID:
Of all those who lost their jobs to COVID, women had it worse. According to a study by Nikore, the labor force has shrunk by 13% for women but just 2% for men. It also pointed out that when economic conditions are tough, women are often discouraged from looking for work. This has led many females to forego their dreams, especially in rural India. Supporting these women can help them nurture their ambition and thereby help us boost the overall economy.
Now could be a great opportunity more than ever to ensure more women join the workforce. With the booming ‘work from home’ saga, women can now find it easier to manage their domestic commitments along with work. They are no longer required to forego their dreams to take care of the house. In such a scenario, buying from local female-run businesses could encourage them to grow and scale to newer heights in the time to come.
We buy what we mostly see on the internet. The reason why local artisans are unable to grow revenue-wise is their low or no online visibility. However, this only means that we should go the extra mile to locate them, buy from them, and eventually help them build better infrastructure – digitally and otherwise. As their profits increase, they will be in a better position to upskill digitally. We can also help them outside the monetary perspective by teaching them the tech. Buying smartphones for them, setting a digital space for their business, or simply contributing to organizations that are supporting the local female artisans could help the situation massively.
Helping local female artisans could be one of the most gratifying ways to enforce gender equality. As is true for most artists, it is usually found in rural India, where the gender gap is the widest and most alarming. By supporting local rural women in their endeavors, we can change the narrative where it is most needed. It could be our one chance to help rural women become breadwinners and eventually contribute to the economy.
The pandemic put things into perspective for most of us. We were reacquainted with our inner calling and lost hobbies. This has also been true for many homemakers and female artists in India. Their one cherished dream that was lost in all the noise has finally appeared to the fore. Many have taken to fueling their lost passions professionally. By supporting their humble endeavors, we can help them shape their dreams and boost the economy in the process.
Handmade and locally curated items are more environmentally sustainable and often ensure greater quality as compared to factory-made products. They carry a unique charm and flavor to them, which is otherwise found missing in most products. By supporting local female vendors, you can not only enhance their livelihood but also contribute to a better environment.
By relying on Indian-made and local goods, we can become self-reliant as a nation and help bolster our economy in the post COVID world. This can lend a new ray of hope to the many women who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic or have finally mustered the courage to pursue their dream projects. Time to say yes to the Vocal for Local campaign if you haven’t already!
The featured image is for representational purposes only.