Culture and history play a large role in the national identity of both indigenous and non-indigenous Guatemalans. For Maya female artisans, traditional weaving represents not only opportunity for economic gain, but to preserve indigenous identity and pride.
As a popular travel destination in Central America, the tourism industry is one of the most important economic sectors in Guatemala. Travelers and locals have the opportunity to use the tourism industry to make a positive impact on the social, cultural and economic lives of many Guatemalans.
Indigenous communities throughout Central America have long suffered from systematic marginalization. Today, lingering effects of the civil war and persisting discrimination prevent indigenous Mayas from accessing many social resources in Guatemala. Though Maya communities as a whole feel the negative impacts of government neglect, this suffering is felt most acutely among women.
Fair Trade is a term commonly found in consumer settings, but rarely understood. Fair Trade principles outline fair treatment of goods producers and manufacturers around the world in order to ensure an ethical production process that promotes and protects the rights of artisans and workers involved. In order to understand whether Fair Trade is an effective method of development, it is crucial to understand the processes and principles of Fair Trade organizations.
Women in Guatemala have struggled for equal treatment for decades. While the situation is improving, the process is slow and difficult, for indigenous women in particular. Many factors contribute to the social and economic marginalization of women in Guatemala and result in their lack of access to resources and representation.
The Guatemalan Civil War lasted from 1960 - 1996 and resulted in an estimated 200,000 casualties. The effects are still being felt, particularly among indigenous communities and women who endured some of the most suffering under a brutal military regime. It has been a long and slow process to see justice and fair trials for those involved.