Our Women & Vision

WomenWeave’s Women: Mission and Vision

Traditionally weaving in Maheshwar as in many other areas of rural India was seen as a hereditary form of “men’s work”. However, after almost 30 years working closely with weavers Sally Holkar had observed women’s vital yet mostly hidden role in weaving. Not only did they carry our much of the ancillary work surrounding weaving (such as warp winding or loom threading) they also often stepped in to actually weave on the loom. They were in effect “shadow weavers”

WomenWeave’s Women: Mission and Vision

The women weavers of Maheshwar- in the “shadows”

Sometimes women completed work on the loom to help fulfil orders when order deadlines loomed, sometimes they wove when the men had to leave for the fields to harvest crops. Yet sometimes they were also compelled to finish a piece on the loom when their husband had turned to gambling or drinking. It’s the women who are the primary careers for both children and elderly members of the family, and they bear the brunt of hardship when earnings from the loom do not come in on time.

No matter the reason why they were weaving, one thing was clear: the need to give women more autonomy through proper training and recognition of their vital role in weaving. This is how and why WomenWeave was created.

WomenWeave’s Vision

WomenWeave believes that training women to weave should form part of an approach that enhances all aspects of the women’s lives, including health, childcare, and personal empowerment. This holistic approach to well-being ensures that the benefits that women gain from becoming part of WomenWeave are not only sustainable but truly life-enhancing.

As WomenWeave has grown into a thriving NGO employing over two-hundred women who work as weavers (either full or part time), so there has been a shift in the market for their woven products. In the past decade, ideas of slow fashion, sustainability and artisanal-based luxury have flourished as key niche markets both in India and internationally, affording WomenWeave a new phase of growth.

WomenWeave’s Mission

This domestic as well as global market shift has made the core activities of WomenWeave more relevant than ever and provided fresh impetus to its core activities which are:

Creating a community of weavers and connecting them with potential customers.

Generating selling opportunities and market connections in India and abroad that would otherwise be inaccessible to rural weavers.

Major ongoing programmes

WomenWeave (WW), a registered Charitable Trust based in Maheshwar, MP, has supported and developed the role of women in handloom weaving since 2002.

WomenWeave is a Charitable Trust registered under the Mumbai Sarvajanik Vishwavyavastha Adhiniyam 1950 Registration Act of 1860. The registration no. E- 21094 is dated June 30th, 2003.

WomenWeave  holds a certificate of importer and exporter code (IEC) number 0304042374 issued on September 9th, 2004.

WomenWeave is registered as Manufacturer exporter in The Handloom Export Promotion Council, Chennai bearing the registration no. HEPC/R-6783/M-RTE- 14798/11-12.