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The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, founded in November 2012 and hosted by the Aspen Institute, is a collaborative effort of over 70 artisan businesses, artisan support organizations, corporations, government agencies, and other partners who are working together to promote the full potential of the global artisan sector.  

The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise was created to elevate the importance of the artisan sector, support and grow artisan businesses, and share best practices in a collaborative learning community. 


Move #WomenForward with the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise

Gina Rogari

March 8, 2016, the Alliance celebrated International Women’s Day with the Aspen ASCEND program at the Aspen Forum on Women & Girls: Conversations Across Generations. The Forum was co-hosted by Alliance Director Peggy Clark and ASCEND’s Anne Mosle to explore a nuanced approach to women’s issues.

The program featured an array of explosive, thought-provoking women discussing violence, progress, barriers, and opportunities for women around the world. Moderator Melissa Harris Perry launched the Forum with the question, “Is the frame of ‘woman’ even useful?" 

During the two-day event, Melissa, Alicia Garza (Black Lives Matter), Reema Nanavaty (SEWA), Kavita Ramdas (Ford Foundation), Tina Tchen (White House), and others began unpacking the complex issues facing women. Recognizing intersectionalities will allow us to better tackle systemic inequalities that continue to exist in the 21st century. With diverse workforces, diverse leadership, and increased awareness, we can overcome the largest barriers facing women every day. 

Still, poverty and injustice remain. As Reema solemnly noted, “Poverty is violence with the consent of society.” The artisan sector is a major employer of women around the world, providing sustainable livelihoods and supporting entire communities. Still, there are disconnects between education, technology, traditional skills, and the global marketplace. Policymakers, financial institutions, and other leaders do not perceive artisan businesses as economically viable.

As consumer demand for artisan work increases, we need to recognize the complexities in the artisan sector and ensure artisans, especially women, have access to fair wages, appropriate resources, and respect.  

Through our network of over 75 members and partners, the Alliance strives to tackle this economic inequity. Together, we can tackle systemic barriers and elevate the importance of the artisan sector. Join the movement to push #WomenForward. Start by deciding to #ChooseArtisan.

Read more about the need for a nuanced approach to women’s issues in the Huffington Post, written by Peggy Clark and Anne Mosle, here.

Follow key moments from the Forum on the Alliance’s Twitter feed, and read more from ASCEND. See a full agenda from the Forum here. Cartoons from the event were drawn by Jen Sorensen