Inspire Inclusion: International Women’s Day 2024

Today, March 8, we are celebrating International Women’s Day!

Today we focus on the achievements and potential of women around the world, and this year's official theme is Inspire Inclusion.


In a world with a history of injustices against women, fair trade setups have consistently been agents of change toward a fairer world where differences can be celebrated and women included. Fair trade honors women’s dignity and actively fights against unfair treatment of women everywhere. Whether it’s supplying dignified jobs for women as alternatives to harmful options, helping rescue women from unsafe circumstances, or giving women space to live out their potential and make a difference, fair trade brands and organizations have been leaders in inspiring inclusion.


In their February 2019 report, on Business Models that Empower Women, the World Fair Trade Organization puts it like this: 

“If you are a woman working for a Fair Trade Enterprise, you are four times as likely to achieve a senior management position, become CEO or join the Board than you would be working for a conventional business. 

Much more than this: if you are a woman working or producing for a Fair Trade Enterprise, you will be recognised, you will be counted, your rights will be respected, you will be visible and your voice will be heard. 

Fair Trade Enterprises have gender justice at the heart of what they do, believing that we will never achieve sustainable development if women’s full potential is not realised.

The case for women’s empowerment is clear. For development to be sustainable there must be gender equality”


At the core of fair trade values is recognition of the dignity and potential of people. Because of this, it would ensure that women who are involved in every area of production and business receive fair treatment and wages!


Trades of Hope said “We’re fighting inequality through simple, doable, solutions like providing safe jobs with fair wages for women in areas of extreme poverty around the world. We believe that every woman deserves opportunities to learn, grow, and pursue her dreams.”


Around the world, women make up 80% of the workforce in the garment supply chain and 25% of agriculture workers (and this percentage increases if you zoom-in on low income and rural areas globally) This is also reflected over and over in other categories of production and business, so any fair trade endeavor is going to have direct impact on women.

Fair Trade USA says, that “Despite being essential to these industries, women workers face a broad range of challenges and barriers to economic opportunity. From discriminatory laws – like restricting women’s rights to own and/or manage assets – to harassment and violence, to harmful social norms and expectations, women face a multitude of daily challenges that impede their ability to have sustainable livelihoods and participate fully in society.”


Fair trade is important for women everywhere because it inspires inclusion for and empowers women. But it isn’t a one way street! The official International Women’s Day program had a feature on fair trade’s impact, and it shows that women are “crucial actors in transitioning present unsustainable economies into fair and green ones.” Passionate women have done incredible things in the fair trade community that has far reaching effects for a fairer world. 

Fair trade ensures that women receive fair wages for their work, and helps to reduce the gender pay gap and improve the economic status of women in communities. By participating in fair trade practices, women have the opportunity to take on leadership roles, access education and healthcare, and make decisions that impact their lives and communities.

It also provides women with equal opportunities, resources, and support to succeed, and invests in the well-being of families, communities, and the environment, honoring both achievement and potential!


So, what can we do to celebrate International Women’s Day and #inspireinclusion? Here are five general ways we can focus our efforts.

1. Support fair trade

If you want to ensure that the women behind your purchases have been treated fairly and included ethically, choose to purchase products that are certified fair trade or part of the Fair Trade Federation to support women in the supply chain and their communities.


2. Educate others

Spread awareness about the importance of fair trade and how it empowers women around the world. It’s always exciting to research and share about the benefits of fair trade on the lives of women, and how women have been influential in creating a fairer world. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but take time to educate yourself and others about the incredible changes that have already taken place!


3. Get involved

Now is the time to join organizations or campaigns that promote fair trade practices and advocate for gender equality in trade. Reach out to fair trade business owners and find ways that you can get involved!

4. Shop consciously

Be mindful of where your products come from and the impact of your purchases on women in the supply chain. Be aware of the people behind the products you see and the difference you can make in someone's life.


5. Amplify voices

Use your platform to amplify the voices of women in the fair trade movement and support their efforts for a more equitable world. Spread the word about how women in business and the supply chain are honored in the fair trade movement by highlighting women who it has impacted! Fair trade gives them a platform where their voices can be heard, now you can be part of that by giving them your attention and support. 

Together, we can drive change.

Empowering female workers has a profound and positive ripple effect. We have seen this firsthand within fair trade communities across the world, and we remain committed to improving upon our model and approach so more women and girls can succeed on their own terms. 

- Fair Trade USA

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