Rosie asked me to write the article this month for the newsletter. We both agree it’s important that all of the members of the board have a voice and it’s also an opportunity for you to get to know us and to know what World Community Exchange. My first reaction was “NO, NO and again please NO. I hated English and writing when I was in school, I don’t use flowing words that engage, I understand the required paragraph structure etc etc- but I’m the math and science person so what I write isn’t very flowing or engaging. So, with that disclaimer….here goes!!
In the December and January newsletters, Rosie talked about our WCE journey and how a simple “I have a crazy idea” came to fruition and the progress that has been made making WCE a reality. I want to talk a little bit today about the “WHY”. Rosie is the “words”. She can tell the story of the company and the makers and the relationships that are being built. I am the numbers person. I wanted to know if there was really a need for WCE. I did a LOT of reading and research in those early months. Here are some of what I consider the “top” reasons for “why” WCE:
- Why focus on “Women” owned businesses:
• I couldn’t believe the amount of studies and statistics available for this “why”
- Women perform two-thirds of the world’s work, especially in agriculture, for 10 percent of the income (InterAction, 2009); own only 1 percent of the assets (www.onlinewomeninpolitics.org); and constitute 70 percent of the world’s poor (International Labor Organization).
- Persistent gender inequality and differences in women’s and men’s roles greatly influence the causes, experiences and consequences of women’s poverty. Policies and programs to alleviate poverty must, therefore, take account of gender inequality and gender differences to effectively address the needs and constraints of both poor women and men 
- The economic benefits of scaling back barriers to women’s engagement in the workforce are substantial; as observed in the Global Gender Gap Report, between 2006 and 2009, of 115 countries surveyed, 98 (85 percent) improved performance. When women acquire access to and control over economic resources, they increase productivity and their incomes. Their ability to feed, clothe and educate their families thereby increases.
- When women work-economies grow:
- if women in the United States received equal pay with comparable men, poverty for working women would be reduced by half and the U.S. economy would have added $482 billion (equivalent to 2.8 percent of 2014 GDP) to its economy 
- increasing the female employment rates in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries to match that of Sweden, could boost GDP by over USD 6 trillion 
- Advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to the global growth 
- Conversely, it’s estimated that gender gaps cost the economy approximately of 15% of GDP 
- “Empowering women has a ripple effect on their families, the community and the larger global “world”.
- Fair trade provides a framework to create opportunities for gender equality because their standards focus on social, economic and environmental obstacles 
• At the bottom, I’ve posted links to the cited sources.
- Do consumers really care about where their products come from:
• The Fairtrade Consumer Insights report conducted by GlobeScan, surveyed over 2000 US consumers and 15, 000 global consumers and discovered that
- Fair trade awareness among US consumers has grown by almost 50% since 2019 and that 80% of US Shoppers are aware of Fairtrade and would look at a brand that carried the fair trade label more favorably.
- They also discovered that the pandemic was a huge “wake up call” to consumers about where their products came from and also make more ethical purchasing choices.
- Is there really a market for WCE: I think Logistyx Technologies and Digital Commerce 360 year end summaries said it best: “consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, up an incredible 44% year-over-year (YoY); the highest annual U.S. e-commerce growth in at least two decades and nearly triple the 15.1% jump in 2019
So if you’re still with me, I hope I’ve answered a few “whys” for you as well.
Take a moment to read the stories on WCE. They may give you even more answers for your “whys”.
Thanks so much
Written by: Lori Hayes
1 Global Womens Issues: Women in the World Today, Extended version” e-book
2 IMPACT of Women earning more-
3 UN Women: Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment
4 McKinsey Global Institute 2015 Power of Parity report
6 UN Women-Facts & figures report