Processing shea butter (above)
The beauty industry has always been an area where women could make money – from making potions, perfumes and soaps out of their homes to the becoming business moguls like Elizabeth Arden, Anita Roddick and Estee Lauder. Women are still dominating this industry with thousands of indie beauty businesses thriving around the world. Producing the final product and selling it is only a portion of this industry. As you delve into the supply chain, it becomes clear that women are also responsible for the growing and harvesting of many of the ingredients that go into these products. It is a female industry through and through. On this International Women’s Day, I want to honor the unseen women around that world that provide Cocoon Apothecary with all of the amazing botanicals that we enjoy daily.
A few examples:
- Shea Butter from Burkina Faso – Rural women organize cooperatives where they gather and process the shea nuts and are paid fairly for them. They use the money earned to pay for their children to go to school and for basic needs such as food and medicine.
- Argan Oil from Morocco – Argan oil is processed exclusively by women within cooperatives where they work half days in order to be able to tend to their families and are paid fairly.
- Rose essential oil and water from Bulgaria – Women get up before the break of dawn to harvest the roses as the sun rises. They women pluck the flowers by hand and collect them in their aprons. It is traditionally a women’s job and not much has changed since the 16th century.
Buying natural beauty products that use organic, natural, fair-trade ingredients is a great way to support women around the world but you can also give money directly to female entrepreneurs in the form micro-lending. I’ve listed a few organizations below.
This International Women’s Day, I urge you to give something to a woman that might make her life a little easier.