Buying Fairtrade supports women across the world

Aoife looks at how your consumer choices and buying Fairtrade has a positive impact on women’s lives

Written by Aoife McMahon


Being young people in an increasingly progressive world, we have all come in contact with the feminist movement in some way or another. I personally have been shown Emma Watson’s speech on gender stereotyping to the UN four times in school. I’ve seen countless images of Michelle Obama holding up a sign with #MeToo splashed across the front, or Kamala Harris addressing the world as the first female vice president in the United States.

While these all represent extremely noble and necessary battles, ‘feminism’ as we have been taught appears to exclude millions of women across the world in my opinion. Away from the relative progress made by Ireland and some other countries, the challenges faced by women across the globe are shocking. As I sit sharing inspirational “the future is female” Instagram posts, it is easy to forget the inevitable relationship that my consumer habits have with this inequality.

Issues facing women’s across the globe

Women make up roughly 43% of the agricultural labour force and produce the majority of the world’s food supply. Yet they remain disproportionately affected by low wages, discrimination, and exploitation. They are paid far less on average than their male counterparts and are more likely to be hired for temporary jobs without proper contracts while being excluded from taking out loans and receiving bonus payments. Female farmers often work alone in fields, leaving them vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse. Over 55% of female flower workers in Ecuador having suffered some form of sexual harassment.

With little access to assets of their own and no say in decision-making, many women have no way of escaping this poverty trap. So the problems continue. Many women not only uphold demanding and labour intensive farm or factory jobs, but they are usually fully responsible for looking after their children and carrying out household tasks. This can include walking miles to fetch water every single day. Just think how busy the adults in our lives always are and they have the help of time-saving devices, running water, and kitchen appliances!

Our work is supported by