Most of the world’s 1.3 billion poor people happen to be female. Is this an accident? No. If the economy has gone global then so has gender oppression. Poverty remains feminized as does exploitation of female labor in the global economy. Therefore to buy a good that is “fairly traded” is to take a stance as a consumer to say “no!” I shall not participate in the continued production and consumption of goods that are produced and sold by investors without a care in the world as to whether the laborer who stitched an article of clothing or assembled a cellphone or computer was able to feed herself and her family on the wages paid by a subsidiary company owned by a megaglobal multinational corporation.
Fair Trade gives consumers the opportunity to say Yes! to safe workplaces, to childcare for working women, to living wages, to respect for woman’s laboring body. Fair Trade says No! to toxicity from chemicals and fumes outlawed in Global North countries but allowed in factories in the Global South countries whose human resources are used to produce all of the high quality and fancy products enjoyed in the modern world — from high speed communication and handheld instantaneous entertainment to fashionable household products and clothes.
The Fair Trade Federation reports that 70% of world artisans are women. Therefore buying fair trade directly benefits women. Remember that women usually bear the direct burden of feeding families, nursing the sick and the injured from civil wars, gathering water and grain for sustenance. Because of their gendered roles in global South countries they are least likely to learn to read, to have access to quality prenatal care and are the most likely targets of domestic violence and abuse in their communities.
When a consumer buys fair trade she is assured that her dollars or Euros are going to benefit women farmers or women artisans. This “just” income improves the quality of life of their families, gives women a sense of empowerment that helps to transform them into leaders in their communities.
Buy Fair Trade and Make a Difference in a woman’s life.