Mongolian pastoral women have essential roles as caregivers to their families, but when they forced to lead their households alone, their families are more vulnerable.
However, when women have the opportunity to lead, they demonstrate the same leadership qualities as men and prove to be even better when it comes to building trust among community members. Women also make a valuable contribution to collective efforts, thus contributing to more successful pastoral communities and sustainable rangelands.
The aim of the J.Crew Women Empowerment Programme is to empower Mongolian pastoral women by increasing their leadership roles and economic opportunities in SFA registered herder cooperatives.
Incentivising leadership opportunities
We will promote female leadership through the provision of financial incentives to herding cooperatives that include local senior females within their membership and have a least one woman in their decision-making structure. Incentives will also be provided to herding cooperatives that develop social safety nets and offer collective support for vulnerable female-led families.
Female-led fibre sorting
We will also provide training to women in fibre sorting to increase economic return and encourage female involvement in cooperative activities. Currently, harvested fibre is not sorted before being put into sacks and sold to traders. The aim of the fibre sorting project is to create added value for herder organisations through sorting of fibre by colour, age and sex prior to packing. As this saves time for processors, sorted fibre can be sold for a higher price, and allows herders to fetch an additional premium on their finest quality fibre.
The projet will be female-led, thereby creating opportunities for women to hold important leadership positions, negotiate trades and contracts, handle cash, make decisions and secure higher economic returns for their cooperatives.
With support from J. Crew, the SFA have published textbooks and developed a course that will see 1000 female herders trained in fibre sorting methods that requirements of cashmere processors.