SDG5: Gender equality

Around 60-80 percent of the world’s food is grown by women. Yet they often don’t own the land and see little of the profit made from it. Fairtrade works to address this gender gap.

SDG5 off Centre 870
Image courtesy of the United Nations

Studies show that while women’s role in farming has increased over time, women have less access to resources such as land, inputs, information, credit and training. Women are historically also often overlooked when it comes to leadership roles.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has identified that overcoming gender inequalities can reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 150 million. Women have an essential role to play in ending poverty, if they are given the equal treatment they deserve.

Goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

How Fairtrade contributes to SDG5: Gender equality

Fairtrade supports women to participate equally in agriculture, earn better wages and diversify their income and opportunities.

Fairtrade Standards are designed to prevent gender inequality, increase female participation and empower more women and girls to access the benefits of Fairtrade.

Requirements for producer organizations include:

  • No discrimination on the basis of gender or marital status

  • Zero tolerance of behaviour that is sexually intimidating, abusive or exploitative

  • At least eight weeks of maternity leave for female workers on plantations

  • No testing for pregnancy when recruiting workers

  • Programmes to support disadvantaged and minority groups, such as women

  • Developing a gender policy, over time.

We are also working beyond the Standards to increase women’s role in Fairtrade producer organizations and to ensure they receive equal benefits.

  • Producer networks are rolling out women’s schools of leadership, enabling women to learn business, negotiation and finance skills. Many of these women go on to take on leadership and committee positions within their cooperatives and communities.

  • Many Fairtrade Premium projects directly benefit women, enabling changes to decision making and governance structures in certified producer organizations, and improving economic opportunities. For example, the Del Campo nut cooperative in Nicaragua uses their Fairtrade Premium to support women’s emerging businesses.

  • Many producer organizations are undertaking gender analyses of their organizations and piloting new gender equality programmes, gender committees and policies.

  • Through advocacy work and collaboration with trade unions and NGOs we are pushing for gender equality and interventions to enhance women’s well-being and empowerment.

We are seeing incremental improvement, but there is much more work to do to bring about true gender equality. With your support for farmers and workers like these, expressed each time you enjoy a Fairtrade product, you enable Fairtrade and its partners to continue pressing for progress.