As Mother's Day approaches I thought I'd write about why Women's Peace Collection focuses on fair trade products handmade by women. There are so many stunning fair trade handicrafts out there these days made by both women and men that it’s very hard to choose which ones to add to our collection. Our goal is always to choose gorgeous, high quality products made by women or families that have a cause attached to them. Our mission is simple – offer our customers the most beautiful, meaningful, sustainable products we can find that help women and families live a better life.
There are specific reasons we focus on working primarily with female artisans. First, it has been shown over and over across the globe that if you invest in women they put the money to good use – educating their children, providing nutritious food for their families, gaining access to quality health care, and starting savings accounts. Studies show that women invest up to 90% of their income back into their families, whereas men on average invest 30-40%.
Did you know that 70% of the world’s poorest people are women? Astounding, isn't it? So investing in women and helping them earn a living wage is one way to help alleviate poverty. And rather than just giving money in the form of donations, investing in a woman’s skills and talents gives her a way to support her family in an ongoing manner.
Selling women’s crafts through fair trade also helps reduce other social issues facing women. By empowering them through the sale of their handiwork and teaching them business skills, women gain greater strength and power in their marriages. Domestic and sexual violence against women is rampant all over the globe, but when women earn a viable income they are less vulnerable and have more decision-making power in their relationships. It has been shown that in some communities domestic violence decreases as women's earning power increases.
Having said all that, we do carry some products made by men. For example, our hand-carved wooden spoon collection from Guatemala is made by a group of highly talented, socially conscious men. These men donate 10% of their sales to female elders in their community to help with healthcare and other needs. Some of our products are made by family groups, where for example the men may do the wood carving while the women paint the designs. And the women are often the ones managing the business side of the cooperative. We carefully vet the sourcing of all of our products, so when we do carry products made by men we ensure that women and children in the community are benefitting.
Yet again, our passion for fair trade is hopefully evident. We sell beautiful treasures handmade by talented women whose lives are improving as a result of their expanding marketplace. What’s better than that?
Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing women out there!