Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 21–39

Gender, health, labor, and inequities: a review of the fair and alternative trade literature

  • Vincent Terstappen
  • Lori Hanson
  • Darrell McLaughlin

DOI: 10.1007/s10460-012-9377-7

Cite this article as:
Terstappen, V., Hanson, L. & McLaughlin, D. Agric Hum Values (2013) 30: 21. doi:10.1007/s10460-012-9377-7


Although research into fair and alternative trade networks has increased significantly in recent years, very little synthesis of the literature has occurred thus far, especially for social considerations such as gender, health, labor, and equity. We draw on insights from critical theorists to reflect on the current state of fair and alternative trade, draw out contradictions from within the existing research, and suggest actions to help the emancipatory potential of the movement. Using a systematic scoping review methodology, this paper reviews 129 articles and reports that discuss the social dimensions of fair and alternative trade experienced by Southern agricultural producers and workers. The results highlight gender, health, and labor dimensions of fair and alternative trade systems and suggest that diverse groups of producers and workers may be experiencing related inequities. By bringing together issues that are often only tangentially discussed in individual studies, the review gives rise to a picture that suggests that research on these issues is both needed and emerging. We end with a summary of key findings and considerations for future research and action.


Fair tradeAlternative tradeGenderHealthLaborEquity



Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International


Non-governmental organization

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Terstappen
    • 1
  • Lori Hanson
    • 1
  • Darrell McLaughlin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Community Health and EpidemiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologySt. Thomas More College, University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada