Coffee is a much-loved daily ritual around the world with global sales reaching into the billions. Yet women coffee producers have historically been overlooked and under-compensated. Reports show that women often comprise up to 70 percent of the manual labor on coffee farms—planting, picking, processing, sorting—yet are far less represented in decision-making, trading, analysis, or business ownership.
Even more problematic is when women do own their coffee farms studies show that they receive far less revenue for their coffees. This is due to a lack of access to resources, markets, and underlying bias. In many countries land ownership is not transferred to a wife after her husband dies, emigrates, or simply leaves home. This is the same with membership in cooperatives, which is often registered in the husband’s name and frequently remains nontransferable. Land ownership is vital to securing working capital loans and finance for long-term investments in agricultural enterprises. Without land ownership women producers cannot obtain finance to grow or strengthen their business.
Additionally, women producers are overlooked in agriculture extension programs where underlying bias is common. These programs often seek out male producers, as well as larger farms, which are normally not women owned.
Finally, women-headed households are often subject to the double burden of domestic tasks and farming activities. The time commitment required to care for a family and home, in addition to a farm, has been identified as a main driver of inequality between women and men producers.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has stated that, “just giving women the same access as men to agricultural resources could increase production on women’s farms in developing countries by 20 to 30 percent. This could raise total agricultural production in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent, which could, in turn, reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12 to 17 percent, or 100 to 150 million people.”
This is why Cafecita works specifically with women producers to ensure they receive their fair share of the profits and that gender equality is respected at every stage of production. This empowerment leads to better outcomes for families and communities, and the beans consistently score higher in quality.
The full FAO statement is available here.
To read more about our specific coffees and the impact on our women producers, please visit Our Coffee Producers page.
“Empowering Women at Origin.” Emily Meneses, Barista Magazine Online. January 2021
“Women’s Land Rights, Processes of Empowerment, and Data Needs in the Coffee Global Value Chain: A Framework and Review of Available Evidence.” Priscilla Fisher, Floozy Coffee Roasters. 2019
“Women in the Coffee Industry: What You Should Know.”Perfect Daily Grind. 2018
“Gender Equality in the Coffee Sector: An Insight Report from the International Coffee Organization.” International Coffee Organization (ICO). October 2018.
"Coffee Certifications as Potential Pathways to Women’s Empowerment in Costa Rica." Laura N. Stein, University of Montana, Missoula. 2017.
“8 Steps to Building Gender Equity into the Global Coffee Supply Chain.” Perfect Daily Grind. 2016.
"Why Counting Women in Agriculture Matters." COSA. March 2017.
The August 2017 IWCA Convention in Puebla, Mexico included presentations from several leading research organizations in the panel titled, "Quantifying Women in Coffee: Who, Where, What?". Summaries are available below: