The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #MakeItHappen. This day is celebrated globally and is a perfect opportunity to highlight how Fair Trade is empowering women in the communities we work with and celebrating how they #MakeItHappen.

As a Fair Trade company, supporting women’s employment is central to the principles we adhere to as part of the World Fair Trade Organisation’s 10 principles of Fair Trade.

Principle six is Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Freedom of Association:

“The organization has a clear policy and plan to promote gender equality that ensures that women as well as men have the ability to gain access to the resources that they need to be productive and also the ability to influence the wider policy, regulatory, and institutional environment that shapes their livelihoods and lives.”

This means that when you purchase from People Tree you can be guaranteed that this commitment has been met. Equal opportunities are reflected throughout People Tree’s supply chain where 56% of leadership roles are held by women.

Swallows, is one of our producer groups who work with women in rural Bangladesh. They create unique garments using traditional handskills, including hand weaving and embroidery.  The Virginia Chambray dress in blue is made by Swallows. We love the subtle detail of the beautiful embroidery around the neckline.

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We also love the fact that by making this dress, these ladies are paid a fair wage and that also funds are invested into Swallows’ development work within their community. Santo, who works in Swallows, elaborates further on the development work made possible by Fair Trade in his community:

“We also provide education and support to women in the local community. We go to local villages and give training on women’s rights in existing law. Many of girls do not know that their permission is compulsory before they enter into marriage. We are not only changing the mentality of girls but also changing the mentalities of parents too.”

We also appreciate that making progress in terms of equal opportunities for women, is happening due to changing attitudes within the entire community.  In Nepal, one of our producer groups, KTS, employ over 2000 women based artisans. People Tree works with KTS to provide training and design support. Hand knitting not only makes a unique and beautiful product, it also provides women with the opportunity to work part time, which enables them to support their families and provide child care.

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Katy Crochet Jumper in Cream [£90] K049UN – hand knitted by KTS

According to Ms. Laxmi, a knitter with KTS:

“People Tree’s orders are vital to KTS, to me, my family, my colleagues and grass-roots female producers in my country. Fair Trade orders empower these people socially and economically and mean we can educate ourselves and our children. Knowing this inspires me to work hard. I wish and pray for the success of Fair Trade fashion and People Tree.”

These ladies are making it happen. For more information about all of our producer groups, please see here. To shop the latest collection, please see here.

We’ll be wearing our favourite purple People Tree items (purple is the campaign colour for IWD) and we would love to know what you’re doing to celebrate International Women’s Day. Let us know by tweeting or facebooking with your pictures #MakeItHappen

Written by Roxy Rocks-Engleman

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