Gender is not an “add-on” for your business culture. In order for full gender equality to be achieved, we need to make gender a cross-cutting topic. Fair Trade enterprises already show us a glimpse of a future in which men and women can enjoy equal rights. However, many obstacles still need to be tackled and implementing gender as an interdisciplinary topic can be challenging – even for Fair Trade companies.

The WFTO gender policy, last revised in 2016, sets out strategies for the successful implementation of Fair Trade Principle 6, and provides guidelines for gender-sensitive employment approaches. We have taken up some of the most important aspects of the gender policy and put them in a new Fact Sheet on Gender, together with some concrete recommendations for our members and other Fair Trade actors in Europe on how you can implement a more gender-focused approach in your enterprise. The fact sheet can be downloaded here.

It can be a rocky road from the idea of promoting gender equity to real action points that place gender as an everyday issue. However, research shows that Fair Trade enterprises are already pioneering in this field. New reports published by the World Fair Trade Organization find that a woman working for a Fair Trade Organisation is four times more likely to achieve leadership positions or join a board than a woman working for a conventional business. The reports also give concrete examples of how other WFTO members work towards gender equity. Fair Trade enterprises have gender equality and women’s economic empowerment at the heart of what they do, believing that we will never achieve sustainable development if women’s full potential is not realized.

This is why, on 8 March of this year we celebrated International Women’s Day 2019 by showcasing women in leadership positions of Fair Trade enterprises. We decided to put into the spotlight women leaders within Fair Trade who lead by example and show that Fair Trade promotes gender equality in the workplace. Stephanie Brookes and Gabriella D’Amico, both board members of WFTO-Europe, as well as our regional coordinator Francesca Giubilo shared their opinions in a lively video that explains how Fair Trade advocates for gender equality and supports women to gain leading positions. The video was shared in our social media as well as on our website and received great response on all the different channels. Taking into account all our communication channels, our video reached over 21,600 people. Re-watch it here.