International Women’s Day honors the achievement of women all over the globe and promoting women’s rights. A national holiday celebrated in multiple countries, International Women’s Day was established due to the efforts of the suffragettes and the promotion of women’s rights in America during the early 20th century. With the suffrage movement resulting in success, the popularity of the International Women’s Day declined. In the decades following, it began to rise once again being aided by the growth of feminism in the 1960’s and then sponsored by the UN in 1975. Today in the 21st century, now that international trade and communication have rapidly advanced, it is an especially important occasion for promoting women’s issues and rights in developing countries.
International Women’s Day is of special importance to us at Jedwards due to the women’s cooperatives our shea butter is directly connected with. Shea butter coalition projects in Ghana support the women who harvest the shea nuts which is culturally allocated for women to manage. These projects aim to reduce poverty, improve the livelihoods of these women and their families, and to encourage sustainable development. Because the harvesting of Shea is culturally allocated for women without question, many Shea Butter coalition projects give the women of these regions support to manage and oversee their stream of revenue completely and independently.
The Shea tree (Butyrospermum parkii) is a fruit bearing tree that grows naturally in the wild and thrives in the arid, agroforestry parklands of Africa. These incredible plants have never been known to grown in any other parts of the world, making them exclusively unique to the region of the Savannah belt. This region stretches from the West coast of Africa in Senegal to Sudan and the foothills of the Ethiopian highlands in the East. This region has also adopted the name “The Shea Belt”, which spreads into 21 countries. The Shea tree holds vital cultural significance and is known as an ancient tree that has been used for thousands of years by the women of this region for the plant’s health, wellness, and nutritional properties. Perhaps the Shea tree’s ancient lore can also be attributed to its particularly long development cycle; these trees will only start to bear fruit between the ages of 15 to 25 years, won’t reach full maturity until 45 years of age, and can live up to 200 years!
We proudly import high quality shea butter of several varieties thanks to the women of these cooperatives. There is no better time than International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8th, to give praise and show extra appreciation to these women and all women around the world.