For example, every Fair Trade growing community elects a committee that decides how the premium is invested. Each committee must be representative of the workers from every aspect of production. Since women do most of the tea plucking in India, they end up having a voice (typically making up around 40-60% of committee members) and are often assigned leadership positions, occasionally for the first time in these communities.
The fact that Fair Trade tea growing communities are required to have access to potable water certainly helps the whole family, And since women are traditionally the water-gatherers, better access to close and clean water resources further empowers women by giving them back more time and daylight to spend with their families or on entrepreneurial activities. We’ve also seen how the decision to invest premiums in gas cook stoves has freed women from long hours gathering fire wood and protected their lungs (and those of their children) from smoke filled houses, all while lessening the damage of deforestation.
So as we celebrate our planet in April, it’s gratifying to know that our Fair Trade investments are also investing in women’s social and economic empowerment – it gives a whole new meaning to the idea of protecting Mother Earth.