Article

How Does Fairtrade Promote Gender Equality? 

By: Co+op

Trade isn’t just the exchange of goods and money. It affects real people all over the world. Did you know that a significant portion of the world’s food is grown by women? Yet, they rarely receive their share of the benefits of their hard labor. Women in the agricultural communities where Fairtrade works often: 

  • don’t have control of the money they earn 
  • don’t own land or crops 
  • don’t have access to education, training or supplies 
  • are discriminated against when applying for credit 

Rights that are expected here in the United States are not consistent all over the world. 

This unfortunate reality is why Fairtrade has specific protections for women. Fairtrade Standards ban discrimination, harassment or exploitative behavior, and require producer groups to proactively support women and other historically marginalized groups. Fairtrade has also started training schools – the Fairtrade Women’s School of Leadership - so that women interested in starting their own farms, or pursuing leadership positions, have the skills and support they need to achieve their goals. 

You can see this in Carmen Mueses, a cocoa farmer and member of the CONACADO Cooperative in the Dominican Republic. By joining a Fairtrade certified co-op, Carmen has been able to tap into its collective bargaining power when it comes to cocoa pricing. Through this she has secured a better price for her cocoa, which has made it possible to achieve her goals of scaling production and diversifying her crops.  

In addition to being a resilient, dedicated and entrepreneurial farmer, Carmen is deeply committed to her community and is actively working to create a space where all people can thrive, regardless of their gender.  

As Carmen shared, "We are working in a community based on trust and equality to earn a fair price for all of our farmers where there is no difference based on gender." 

Fairtrade America recently co-created a mural of Carmen with artist, Mari Shibuya, at Central Co-op in Tacoma, Washington to celebrate her incredible commitment to her community and to remind shoppers that choosing Fairtrade is promoting gender equality. You can learn more about Carmen and see more of this mural at ChooseFairtrade.org