We often get the question: “What is a fair income.” And “Do the women who work for your business partners get a fair income.” We dare to say: “Yes!” But the answer needs some explanation.
The benchmark is the minimum income defined by the Indian government in the ‘Mahatma Gandhi National rural employment guarantee act (MGNREGA).’ MGNREGA is designed to provide job guarantee for at least 100 days per year in rural parts of the country. Through this scheme, all the adult members (at least 18 years of age) of any family in rural India are given (non-skilled) work at an income of 150 Rupees (± 1,90 euro) per day.
That is the minimum if you talk about 100 fulltime days. The women working with our business partners determine their own availability.
Freedom of choice
Women in the villages have to cook, wash, look after the children and cattle, look for water and work on the land. That means in general that they have 4 to 6 hours per day to do paid work. Sometimes it is more than 6 hours, but they definitely have no such thing as a working week of 5 days, working from 9AM to 5PM. The women themselves decide how much hours they can do paid work and the income is related to what they produce or deliver.
The women get paid per piece if they weave or embroider or per KG in case of silk cocoons. And there are many more terms in the different businesses. In general their income varies between 2,000 and 5,000 Rupees (± 25 – 63 euro) per month, which is substantially higher than the official minimum income.
But what we believe is as important, is the regular work and income. That is where a family truly benefits from and which creates a sustainable livelihood.