Next Tuesday March 8th is International Women’s Day . This holiday has been observed for more than a hundred years - a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present, and future.
The theme set by the United Nations  for the 2011 International Women’s Day? Equal access to education, training, and technology as a pathway to decent work. As a fan of Fair Trade , you can see the connection between this empowering holiday and the women involved in the worldwide Fair Trade network. Here are just a few of the women workers and cooperative leaders we’d like to introduce you to in honor of International Women’s Day:
That's Christiana Ohene Agyare in the blue dress on the right. This year she became the first democratically elected president of Kuapa Kokoo , a cooperative in Ghana consisting of 50,000 small-scale cocoa growers. In contrast to the norm, Fair Trade cooperatives encourage women’s active participation. Women farmers and workers are often elected to management positions in regions where women are traditionally not given opportunities to be leaders.
Meet Elvia Almachi and Nancy Segovia - workers at the Fair Trade flower farm  Agrogana in Ecuador . Fair Trade flower cooperatives across the world spend their Fair Trade earnings on women’s health initiatives and Agrogana is no exception. The cooperative spends money from Fair Trade flower sales to pay for mobile clinics to conduct preventative screenings for breast and uterine cancer. Fair Trade has strict standards for the health and safety of women. Pregnant women are exempt from any work that could harm their babies or themselves.
Many countries honor International Women’s Day  as a national holiday: China, Russia, Cuba, Afghanistan , and Uganda just to name a few. Men pay tribute to the women in their lives by giving flowers and small gifts to mothers, daughters, wives, and grandmothers. This year, more than 1,500 events (parties, parades, shows, and rallies) have been planned around the world.
How will you celebrate International Women's Day? Want to give an empowering gift to a special woman in your life? Click here to "Give a Woman A Gavel"  and support the global Fair Trade network. Want to find out what rallies and parties are happening near you? Click here to find an event  in your area.