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We can do it! The importance of female participation in Fair Trade activities: A case study of female tea pluckers in the Nilgiris Hills
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis is the result of a ten-week field trip to the Nilgiris District in Tamil Nadu.  It is based on data collected at Chamraj, Dunsandle, Thiashola and Daverashola tea estates. Previous research focuses on the material benefits of Fair Trade (FT) without considering that such benefits may have gender implications.  This paper aims to go beyond the material benefits of FT, examining to what extent FT can contribute to the empowerment of female workers at tea estates. The focus lies on the subjective experiences of women and how FT has improved their livelihoods and their decision-making powers. The starting point is the concept of empowerment; for empowerment to occur women have to increase their ability to choose. The results in this paper show that FT is creating a forum (the Joint Body) where elected women, equal to men, can address their concerns and commonly make decisions on funds from FT. Women participating in the Joint Body (JB) all had positive experience of it and felt a change in their self-esteem, wellbeing and their social status on the estates. The results indicate that FT has a positive impact on women’s empowerment, increasing their public decision-making powers. However, the results also point to the shortcomings of FT as an empowerment strategy in its inability to change the underlying social structures that are the root of female marginalization.    

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54928OAI: diva2:399497
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2011-03-02 Created: 2011-02-22 Last updated: 2011-03-02Bibliographically approved

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