Fair Trade Empowers Women Around the World

Fair Trade Empowers Women Around the World

Sumita, a Fair Trade Committee member at our partner factory.

"Factories that give back to the workforce and care in this way are few and far between…I was kind of surprised and in disbelief that this existed!”

- Sumita, Fair Trade Committee member at our partner factory.

You may have heard “Your Dollars Do More” from Fair Trade USA™ before, but did you know that it means you’ll be making a difference in empowering women and helping them free themselves from poverty?

“Fair trade is extremely important for women,” Kathleen explains. “Women don’t typically have as much upward mobility; they don’t have job security.” But organizations like Fair Trade USA ensure that women have not only fair pay, but onsite daycare, onsite medical clinics for them and their families, transportation to work, and other necessities to care for their families.

A fair trade committee member passing out informational brochure to factory workers.

For each fair trade style sold, the people who made that style - who sat in the factory cutting, sewing, and finishing that garment - earn additional money. This is called Community Development Funds.

As the name implies, this money is put towards projects that help the unique needs of the workers and others in their community. This money can pay for transportation, childcare, or healthcare that allows women the opportunity to come to work every day. It may also pay for things like extra food, stoves to cook on, bikes, new sewing equipment, air conditioning, and so much more.

Factory worker casts vote.

These funds are tailored to the needs of the individuals working in the factories because each person in the workforce gets to vote for what they want. Fair Trade Committees are formed within factories, made up of workers who represent the workforce. If a factory is 80% female, the Fair Trade Committee will be 80% female. The committee has autonomy from the factory owners and Fair Trade USA in defining the needs of their peers and proposing solutions.

This process guarantees that the individual voices in the workplace are being heard, seen, and helped.

But none of this happens if fair trade products are not purchased.

By choosing fair trade, you are allowing your money to do more, to help others, and to create a better life for millions around the world.

Sumita and her fellow factory workers

"I would define fair trade as a sharing of the benefits to all those who work on the product. I hope consumers of Fair Trade Certified products continue to believe in this special seller and buyer relationship.”

- Sumita, Fair Trade Committee member at our partner factory.