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Women's empowerment in coffee farming



Coffee farming has long been a male-dominated activity, where women have traditionally played

supportive roles in the background. However, the past few decades have witnessed a significant shift in gender dynamics within this industry, with women coffee growers emerging as key players.


According to a report by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) (2020), women contribute

approximately 40% to 80% across different stages of the coffee value chain globally. Their courage and determination are crucial for achieving sustainability in the sector. Currently, there exists an International Women's Coffee Alliance (IWCA), comprised of women's organisations from 27 countries, aimed at empowering women in the coffee industry through leadership development, strategic partnerships, and increased market visibility. To understand women's empowerment in coffee farming, it is important to consider factors such as socio-cultural context, access to education, resources, and support networks, which have influenced this transformation.


Firstly, within the socio-cultural context, women were traditionally limited to domestic and

supportive roles on coffee farms, while men assumed primary responsibilities. However, changes in gender perceptions have led to a greater understanding of their rights and opportunities.Women now actively participate in all stages of the coffee value chain, from planting to the final


cup, demonstrating exceptional skills in farm management, harvesting, processing, and marketing (Accerenzi & Duke, 2023).


Secondly, access to education has been a crucial factor in empowering women coffee growers.

Academic training has enabled women to acquire technical knowledge and skills necessary for

active participation in all stages of coffee cultivation. Additionally, access to knowledge and

technological resources has improved, providing women with the ability to implement sustainable practices and modernize their production methods.


Finally, access to resources and support networks has been fundamental in strengthening the

position of women in coffee farming. As barriers to land ownership and credit have been removed, women have been able to invest in their own farms and improve the quality of their coffee (Ortiz,2023). Moreover, the ease of integrating organizations or support networks that offer a space for women to share knowledge, experiences, and participate in technical training in areas such as agronomy, processing, and marketing of coffee has allowed them to have greater bargaining power in markets.


However, despite progress, women in coffee farming worldwide still face challenges and

inequalities. Therefore, policies and programs are needed to strengthen their presence in the

coffee industry. Empowering women will not only transform gender dynamics but will also have a significant impact on the sector's sustainability, due to the high commitment that women exhibit to good practices, quality, and attention to detail, benefiting the entire coffee industry and making it more equitable, sustainable, and socially conscious.

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