Here in this country, it’s easy to look at a label that says “fair trade” and forget what those two words really mean. But I think it’s important to constantly stress just how much good fair trade does for people thousands of miles away.
So, I’m going to be writing several posts over the next few days about the incredibly important benefits you, yes you!, give people when you buy fair trade. And yes, this includes the bags, scarves, hats, and mittons that we sell through Earth Divas, all of which are made by women and are 100% fair trade.
When you buy a fair trade item, you’re contributing to an artist, and their community, and helping empower both in a very meaningful way. Fair Trade USA has a wonderful list on their site that details the many important benefits fair trade offers.
1. Empowering Women
By far, women benefit the most from fair trade. They often work on farms and in factories that are unsafe, and they’re usually paid far less than men. They’re often sexually harassed by their bosses or other superiors.
When you purchase a fair trade item, you’re ensuring that women are paid a fair wage in a safe environment. Fair trade also means those women often have new access to health care and educational opportunities.
Access to education is incredibly important, especially for the future of young girls and women. Girls that can’t go to school (because their mothers can’t afford to send them) often follow the same dreary path their mother has had to follow.
But education, better food, and access to healthcare can completely transform a young girl’s life. Instead of being doomed to work on a farm or in an unsafe factory, these opportunities show young women that they can be so much more, that they deserve so much more. They begin to see for the first time that they don’t live in a man’s world, where one group has a right to all the opportunities and the intelligence to take advantage of them. They are able to see that they are just as strong, intelligent, and able as the men who used to control them.
Education also empowers women to dream bigger dreams than they ever thought possible.
Fair trade creates millions of positive ripples in the world. And it’s true that most of us will never witness these transforms first hands. But here at Earth Divas, we do get to witness how fair trade changes womens’ lives. It’s incredible to see, and we’re honored every day that we get to be part of that!
Coming up tomorrow, I’ll outline more benefits of fair trade, and how it’s positively changing the world around us, one purchase at a time.
Filed under: Fair Trade Basics on September 26th, 2012