Fair Trade is Empowering Women

Happy International Women’s Day! Today, we celebrate the economic, social, political, and cultural achievements of women. We remember those who came before us and fought for our right to vote, equal pay for equal work, and the removal of gender biases, to name a few. The United States celebrated its first National Women’s Day in 1909, and then in 1913, it was agreed that March 8th would mark International Women’s Day.

Photo: Courtesy of Kazi

Today, we’re going to shine a light on the women in fair trade and celebrate their triumphs that work toward the common goal of breaking the cycle of gender inequality. We’ll take a look at the meaningful impact they contribute to their families, and how they’re inspiring other women in their communities.

Did you know that one of the fair trade principles is to promote gender equality? This principle seeks to reduce the varying inequalities women experience worldwide for issues such as access to education, discrimination, land ownership, and management of earned wages. Also, many women are not empowered, encouraged, or considered for roles, or positions of leadership, and management. If women are not given the opportunity to contribute to important decisions, they cannot perform to their fullest potential or work towards becoming leaders themselves.

The standard of fair trade works to eliminate gender inequality and fosters a work environment that invites women to participate in decisions and advocates for them to take on positions of leadership. This means they can contribute in more meaningful and impactful ways and have their voices heard. Fair Trade Enterprises are making a difference that put women at the forefront of executive roles. According to the WFTO, “Women make up 52% of CEOs, 54% of Senior Managers and 51% of boards in Fair Trade Enterprises. Whereas in mainstream business, the figures are 8%, 24%, and 12% respectively.”

Photo: Courtesy of Fair Trade Egypt

The fair trade model recognizes the potential that exists in both men and women equally, working towards breaking gender stereotypes and expectations of “men’s work” and “women’s work.” Men and women are invited to training opportunities to engage in conversations that enlighten men of the challenges a woman faces. Together, they work towards an understanding that leads men to become advocates for women to grow and succeed. No longer silenced, women are empowered to use their voices, and are encouraged to be active participants in their homes and communities instead of sidelined.

Equal pay for equal work is one of the many factors that contribute to gender equality and the empowerment of women. In many countries, a working woman’s wages are not her own, that is if she earns wages for her work at all. The money she earns is not controlled by her, but rather by her husband. The outcome leaves her powerless to properly care for her family if her husband is mismanaging the finances. When a woman can manage her wages, she will reinvest those earnings back into her family to improve the standard of living, quality of life, and stability of the household. The family will have enough money to save for the future. They can afford to send their children to school, providing them with the tools that lead to a bright outlook, and break the cycle of poverty. Furthermore, women will not only become leaders in their households, but in their communities as well, reinvesting in their local economies, and mentoring other women.

We hope you enjoyed this post that celebrates women in fair trade and feel inspired to support the fair trade movement. To learn more about International Women’s Day, visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

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