A statement necklace that says something

If I’m going to wear a statement necklace, I want to wear one that says something . . .

Typically, I wouldn’t be the person you’d come to for fashion advice, so my decision to host a jewelry party might surprise you. Let me explain:

I didn’t really intend to start learning about the lives of women around the world. But gradually over the past few years, I’ve begun to collect bits of stories from public radio, blogs, and newspapers about what life is like for women across the globe. I heard tales of sweatshop workers and sex slaves, of women denied an education and women forced into premature marriages. I learned about fistulas and the taboo of menstruation. I read the book Half the Sky two summers ago on the recommendation of a friend and found myself increasingly disturbed by the contrast between my life of comfort and opportunity and the lack of comfort and opportunity that my sisters around the world were facing. I heard of many, many ways I could help women. I wondered how to best respond. Should I send money? Adopt a child? Read more books? Start a club?

Meanwhile, my husband (who is a pastor) and I have had many opportunities to give financial help to people in need from our own city and we’ve both begun to acknowledge that charity doesn’t generally help people overcome ongoing struggles. (I’ve begun the book When Helping Hurts, which explains how some kinds of charity can actually be counterproductive.)

These two concurrent streams of thought converged recently and I realized that the best way to empower women around the world is probably not by giving one-time donations. Wouldn’t it be better if I could give them a job? And that is why I fell in love with the business model of Noonday. While most of the clothing and jewelry advertisements I see emphasize how low their prices are, Noonday focuses on the value of the products they sell and, more importantly, the value of the people who make them.

Noonday is a business that connects women around the world through the beauty of jewelry we can all appreciate. Over 200 women in nine countries are making a fair and competitive wage by making exquisite jewelry and other extraordinary accessories that are sold by Noonday ambassadors. I believe in what this company is doing and that is making me bold. Bold enough that I want to bring the beauty of Noonday to the women I know in Madison so I am hosting a trunk show at my house on November 8. Bold enough, even, that I started to wear a (simple, subtle) statement necklace. But not just any statement necklace, one that says something about me AND speaks out for the women who made it.

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