Today is International Women’s Day, and this day isn’t just important to me because I am a woman, it is important because I know that even in the year 2012, there are women everywhere (including the United States) fighting for their rights and equal treatment. I have been lucky enough to be brought up by two amazing parents who have always taught me to be kind and generous but to also be strong, independent and fight for what I believe in. Hope for Women isn’t just a Fair Trade company, it is a place that supports women empowerment. We work with women in Colombia, El Salvador, and India not only to make Fair Trade products that you love, but to give these women a chance to change their lives and their families.
In 1908, 15,000 women gathered together to march through New York City to demanded more humane working hours, voting rights, and better pay and although we have seen immense changes in women’s rights, we still have some ground to cover. In many countries women are still seen as subservient to men, they don’t have voting rights, and they are treated as property. In Saudi Arabia women are not even allowed to drive or to have a meaningful voice in their own government. In the United States we are still seeing unequal treatment in the work place. The U.S. Census Bureau sent out a report in 2005 that showed that 59% of the workforce was comprised of women, but on average they earned only 77 cents for every $1 their male counterparts made.
Many organizations are doing their part to help empower women and today I am featuring CARE. They work with 87 countries to bring women out of poverty and to bring awareness to the everyday dangers women face. CARE is also inviting women to watch an online screening of the documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” This documentary is about Liberian women rising up and protesting for peace in their country. It is extremely moving and shows pure determination and strength of the women and children in Liberia. Another great organization is called Women for Women International. They help women “survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies.” This is a great organization that is celebrating the resilience and strength of women.
I talked to a woman the other day about the work Hope for Women does and where our products are made. She said that it was a shame we didn’t have our tire tube bracelets made in the U.S. because we should be taking care of our “own” first. Although I understood her concern I also thought that the women in Colombia are my “own.” It doesn’t matter if they live 1 mile away or 5,000 miles away, as a women I will always strive to protect, empower and stand up for women around the world because together we are an unstoppable force that “makes the world go round.”
Written by, Mary Mathias