Culemborg, The Netherlands, 8 March 2019 - Today, the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) releases new studies that shows the majority of Fair Trade Enterprises are led by women. According to the study, the network of more than 300 social enterprises in over 70 countries (i.e. WFTO members) have women as the majority among CEOs, board members and senior managers. This is in stark contrast to the mainstream business world.
Women’s leadership in Fair Trade Enterprises
Over half of Arabs in Israel live in poverty. Within this population, there are 200,000 women of working age who have no post-school qualifications. Sindyanna refuses to regard them as a lost generation. Instead, the social enterprise seeks to empower these women and help them acquire skills appropriate for the modern Israeli labour market. These skills include basket weaving, independent small business management and the Hebrew language, which is a condition for seeking work.
Cape Town, South Africa
Maricucha de la Fuente
With growing concerns about non-inclusive workplaces and public spaces, global reports outlining rising inequality and #metoo, the World Fair Trade Organization’s (WFTO) studies on gender equality and empowerment comes as a breath of fresh air.
Right from the beginning our approach was to build some strong connections with the communities, a bridge leading eventually to trust each other; then we trained the women in order to make sure they would have the skills to take full responsibility for managing their business; and of course, a strong focus on quality!
As a woman importer I appreciate the commitment to ‘upskill’ that the weavers are undertaking to produce the difficult weave, which uses 6 batons rather than the usual 2/3, ensuring the weaver is paid more for their skill - which can take months to perfect.
It is essential this information is passed onto the consumer, as a women led supply chain is generally more empathetic to the way a product is produced and less likely to drive down the price – hence there needs to be a ‘safeguard’ in place when taking the product to the wider market.
In recent decades, we have seen a decline in international cooperation and solidarity. When we talk about cooperation, we think of donations but not of other ways to cooperate. Small farmers and artisans are appealing “no aid, trade” and calling for more active participation in markets. When producers are able to secure more sales, they are able to support their families, pay their debts, cover their basic needs, save for their future and invest in their health and wellbeing. This means improving life conditions – from just existing to living.