The course is an extension of WFTO’s sixth Principle of Fair Trade – ending discrimination and promoting gender equity and freedom of association. The majority of producers in the global informal sector are women who must contend with an employment structure that often fails to recognize their rights. Our Principle Six is thus designed to strengthen the institutional mechanisms and policies necessary for protecting their interests. By providing both women and men with the tools and knowledge to seek improved standards for employment, and training employers to act with a sense of responsibility towards all of their employees, WFTO-Asia is committed to achieving equality for all workers within our network.
Photo Credit: Hathay Bunano
The promotion of equitable solutions is necessary not only as an end in itself – it is also a vital ingredient in addressing many of the other Fair Trade principles. By improving women’s employment status we can develop their production capabilities and expand their market access. By honoring women’s traditional knowledge about the environment and strengthening the channels through which they can share this knowledge, we can make vast strides in implementing more sustainable production methods. Ultimately, a focused effort to acknowledge women’s essential role in Fair Trade production is the first necessary step in WFTO-Asia’s ultimate goal of capacity-building for small, marginalized producers.
WFTO Global’s recently adopted gender policy outlining our commitment to increasing women’s leadership capacity in our member organizations and recognizing their contributions at all levels of the supply chain. With the arrival of a new year, the policy is intended to reaffirm our commitment to developing a progressive gender framework among our producer organizations. To help meet the goals of this policy, our Introduction to Gender course will introduce participants to the terms and concepts relevant to the movement towards gender quality. Participants will explore women’s rights in international law and national policies, and learn practical tools for improving gender within their own organizations.