Handbook of Research on Fair Trade
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Handbook of Research on Fair Trade

Edited by Laura T. Raynolds and Elizabeth A. Bennett

Fair trade critiques the historical inequalities inherent in international trade and seeks to promote social justice by creating alternative networks linking marginalized producers (typically in the global South) with progressive consumers (typically in the global North). The first of its kind, this volume brings together 43 of the foremost fair trade scholars from around the world and across the social sciences. The Handbook serves as both a comprehensive overview and in-depth guide to dominant perspectives and concerns. Chapters analyze the rapidly growing fair trade movement and market, exploring diverse initiatives and organizations, production and consumption regions, and food and cultural products. Written for those new to fair trade as well as those well versed in this domain, the Handbook is an invaluable resource for scholars and practitioners interested in global regulation, multi-stakeholder initiatives, social and environmental certification, ethical labeling, consumer activism, and international development.
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Chapter 23: Fair trade and women’s empowerment

Sally Smith

Extract

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are considered core development objectives in their own right, as part of a just and equitable society grounded in respect for human rights. They are also recognized as instrumental for achieving other development objectives, including economic growth and food security, improved health and an end to the intergenerational transmission of poverty – the so-called smart economics argument advanced by the World Bank (World Bank 2006 and 2011). Formal commitment of the international community to gender equality dates back to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women which came into force in 1981, reinforced by the ‘Platform for Action' adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995), which required the UN and its signatory states to mainstream gender issues across all policy processes. The UN's inclusion of the goal to ‘promote gender equality and empower women’ as one of its eight Millennium Development Goals in 2000 has since galvanized attention and, importantly, directed resources towards gender-focused interventions and policy implementation. The nature and implications of gender inequality in agriculture has received particular attention in recent years. An estimated 70 per cent of the world’s very poor live in rural areas and the majority are dependent on agriculture-based livelihoods (IFAD 2010). Improved productivity and participation in commercialized agriculture are seen as key drivers of poverty reduction.

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