WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY!
It was World Fair Trade Day on Saturday, and People Tree – for whom I am a proud ambassador – asked me to choose which of the Fair Trade criteria is most important to me. Here’s the difficult choice I faced…And please head here to read about each Fair Trade critera in full.
1) Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
2)Transparency and Accountability
3) Fair Trading Practices
4) Payment of a Fair Price
5) Ensuring no Child Labour
6) Commitment to Gender Equality
7) Ensuring Good Working Conditions
8) Capacity Building
9) Promoting Fair Trade
10) Respect for the Environment
It was so hard to choose – look at each of these and think about how important they should be. It does sober me up, sometimes, when I think about the industry I’m in and how damaging cheap clothes are to so many people as well as our planet.
I decided to go with Number Six: Commitment to gender equality: “Fair Trade means that women’s work is properly valued and rewarded. Women are always paid for their contribution to the production process and are empowered in their organisations.”
Here was my statement:
The pay gap exists in 1st World Countries such as the UK, but imagine this when the pay is already below the living wage. Worldwide, women undertake the majority of the house and childcare, so ensuring women get paid a fair, living wage means that they can at least maintain a better standard of living. Nutritional meals, safe drinking water, decent housing and access to medical help when needed – all things that many of us take for granted – but which are out of the grasp of so many impoverished families.
We all know that children need education – it is fundamental to upward social mobility, i.e. better jobs and a better wage. Sadly, many families living in poverty have to take their children out of school early to work and contribute to the household. However, if both parents are being paid a fair, living wage, there is a better chance of their children remaining in school. Daughters attending school ensures that mothers of the future are able to support and help their children with their studies when they are in school. This is what I mean when I say ’empowered women bring up empowered children.’
Gender equality is vital in ending cycles of poverty that affect both men and women.
Yet another reason to buy Fair Trade.