Pricing Fair Trade Products to Include Unpaid Labour and Empower Women: The Example of Nicaraguan Sesame and Coffee Cooperatives

12 Pages Posted: 30 May 2012 Last revised: 16 Sep 2013

See all articles by Catherine Hoskyns

Catherine Hoskyns

Coventry University

Nicholas Hoskyns

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Felicity Butler

University of London - Royal Holloway College

Date Written: April 4, 2012

Abstract

The paper discusses an initiative taking place in two cooperatives in Nicaragua. This involves the incorporation of a component for women’s unpaid work into the cost structures of Fair Trade contracts for coffee and sesame. The argument is that the unpaid work which is done mainly by women in the household and community represents an important input into production and one which should be valued and remunerated. Its recognition can both empower women and provide a fresh demonstration of the power of the cooperatives and Fair Trade in innovating so as to improve the conditions of disadvantaged people in their supply chains.

The funding which has now been in place for two years has led to a number of very different projects for women. The involvement has spread not only to women doing unpaid work but also to women in low paid and marginalized jobs within the cooperatives. In particular, this raises the question of to whom the money allocated under this scheme should be paid, and whether it should primarily be used for collective or individual projects. This is an innovative development with the power fundamentally to change gender relations and empower women. It is significant that it is being pioneered in a poor country in the South rather than in the rich North.

Este artículo analiza una iniciativa que tiene lugar en dos cooperativas de Nicaragua. Se incorpora al estudio el componente del trabajo no remunerado de las mujeres en el coste de las estructuras del comercio justo con contratos para el café y el sésamo. El argumento que se esgrime es que el trabajo no remunerado realizado principalmente por mujeres en el ámbito doméstico y de la comunidad representa un aporte importante a la producción, que se debe valorar y remunerar. Su reconocimiento puede investir de poder a las mujeres y demostrar el poder de las cooperativas y el comercio justo para innovar y mejorar las condiciones de personas desfavorecidas en las cadenas de producción y distribución.

La financiación que se ha desarrollado durante dos años ha dado lugar a diversos proyectos orientados a las mujeres. La participación se ha extendido no sólo a las mujeres que realizan trabajo no remunerado, sino también a las mujeres con empleos mal pagados y marginales dentro de las cooperativas. En particular, se cuestiona a quién se debe pagar el dinero generado bajo este esquema, y si debiera utilizar principalmente para desarrollar proyectos individuales o colectivos. Este es un desarrollo innovador que pretende modificar a fondo las relaciones de género y el poder de las mujeres. Es significativo que se está llevando a cabo por vez primera en un país pobre del sur y no en uno rico del norte.

Keywords: women, unpaid work, cooperatives, coffee, sesame oil, empowerment, fair trade, ETICO, body shop international, Mujeres, trabajo no remunerado, cooperativas, café, aceite de sésamo, comercio justo

Suggested Citation

Hoskyns, Catherine and Hoskyns, Nicholas and Butler, Felicity, Pricing Fair Trade Products to Include Unpaid Labour and Empower Women: The Example of Nicaraguan Sesame and Coffee Cooperatives (April 4, 2012). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2034322

Catherine Hoskyns (Contact Author)

Coventry University ( email )

Priory Street
Coventry, CV1 5FB
United Kingdom

Nicholas Hoskyns

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Felicity Butler

University of London - Royal Holloway College ( email )

Senate House
Malet Street
London, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

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