Gender Equity In The Coffee Industry

 When it comes to women in the coffee industry, sometimes it’s easier to list what we don’t know rather than what we do know. Information is hard to gather and studies from reputable sources sometimes contradict each other. Even when we do have data, it rarely tells us the causes behind the trends.

This doesn’t mean that we should disregard these studies. It means that we need to change our expectations.

We cannot expect simple, pithy soundbites. In fact, we should distrust any one statistic that appears to be relevant for any industry as extensive, and as marred by communication difficulties, as coffee. How can we expect the same figure to be true for both Iceland and Indonesia? And how can we expect to have an accurate understanding of how much work women do in remote indigenous producing communities with limited information channels outside of their region?

When evaluating any data, we need to consider the context, the fact that women’s labour and sexual discrimination and harassment often goes under-reported, and the difficulties in measuring and corroborating information.

Yet achieving gender equality starts with understanding what needs to change. So, let’s look at what we do know.

You might also like: 8 Steps to Building Gender Equity Into The Global Coffee Supply Chain

Talor Browne inspects freshly roasted coffee beans. Credit: Talor & Jørgen

Women at Origin: What Do They Do?

There are few places where the “gender data gap” is bigger than on the coffee farm. The Research Alliance of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA), is currently working to remedy this with “a three phase project to identify the number of women working in coffee and their unique roles… This data is critical to identify the most effective courses of action for programs, policies, and other interventions to secure the future and sustainability of the coffee industry.”

Yet until this is completed, little up-to-date and coffee-specific information is available to us. We have to turn to studies of agriculture in general or a 2008 analysis by the International Trade Centre. The latter should be treated with caution: a lot changes in a decade. However, it gives precious insights into the disparity between share of labour and income:

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The post Women in The Coffee Industry: What You Should Know appeared first on Perfect Daily Grind.

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