October is Fair Trade Month, and we can’t wait to celebrate every day in honor of the fair trade movement.

The term “fair trade” used to be mainly printed across bags of coffee, but as focus on the global economy grows, we’re now seeing the label on everything from clothing to furniture.

So what does “fair trade” actually mean?

Fair trade refers to a trading partnership that prioritizes working conditions of the producers, equal opportunities regardless of gender, race, nationality or economic status, and sustainability for the community and environment. Fair trade is deeply rooted in the belief that investing in job creation is far more beneficial than traditional charity models.

And when we employ women in the fair trade industry, we are empowering the entire community:

“When women work, they invest 90 percent of their income back into their families, compared with 35 percent for men.”Clinton Global Initiative 

Threads Worldwide - Artisan Partners in Bangladesh

A few of our Artisan Partners’ children in Bangladesh

Here’s what Founder Lindsay Murphy has to say:


When we started Threads, we knew that empowering women would have the most impact on the community as a whole. Women who are given the opportunity invest in their children, which betters the entire community now and for the future.

When I travelled in India, I can remember feeling extremely helpless as I related to the poverty of the country. I remember seeing women begging on the street and not being able to feed their children. I felt helpless and somewhat hopeless about how we could make any impact. The problem seemed so overwhelming. However, I also knew that we had the power to do something about it. Changing one woman’s life by providing her with marketable skills and confidence can make a difference within her community for generations to come.

Through our travels to visit our Artisan Partners we have been able to see the impact that our purchases of their product makes. We have seen our Artisan Partners gain confidence in themselves and in what they can provide their families. We have seen husbands start to respect their wives and the income they are generating for the families. Artisan Partners have been able to send more of their children to school and make upgrades to their homes, moving from dirt floors to tile. We were personally involved with helping to install a smokeless stove in Guatemala last year for a family — a truly life-changing product. What a moving experience to know that you are impacting the health of current and future generations with that one small change!


 

Threads Worldwide - Artisan Partners in Bali

Founder Angela showing off the work of one of our Artisan Partners in Bali

The best part? You can empower women by shopping fair trade. When you facilitate the employment of women, you are facilitating breaking the cycle of poverty. You are empowering the entire village to take the first step towards economic freedom.

In celebration of Fair Trade Month, we are celebrating women everywhere. Every Tuesday in October, we’ll have a #FairTradeSale, featuring select items at 40% off. Check back to #Shopwithheart so you can invest in women and strengthen your connections to your global sisters.

Sources:
http://www.globalmamas.org/Info/fairtrade
http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/phlntrpy/notes/clinton.pdf
http://www.fairtradewinds.net/fair-trade-empowers-women/