Coffee is a daily ritual around the world with global sales reaching into the billions. Yet women coffee producers have historically been overlooked and undercompensated. 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. Less than 20% of the world's landholders are women.
Even more problematic is when women do own their farms studies show that they receive far less revenue for their coffees. This is due to a lack of access to markets, resources, and underlying bias. 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 not normally 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.”
Not only would world hunger be reduced by providing women with equal access to agricultural resources and markets, studies have shown that women reinvest up to 90% of their earnings back into their households - that's money spent on nutrition, food, healthcare, school, and income-generating activities - helping to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
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
“Ten Coffees from Women Producers that Should be on Your Radar." Kim Westerman, Coffee Review. August 2023
“A Blueprint for Gender Equality in the Coffeelands.” SCAA Sustainability Council. 2015
“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: