Why International Women’s Day matters to the coffee industry
Women are essential to the coffee supply chain – but too often their contributions go unrecognized and unrewarded. Disenfranchisement and gender inequity are perpetuated through a myriad of economic, systemic, and cultural issues (from the insidious to the overt).
However, through hard work and persistence, we’re beginning to see a powerful (and empowering) change across the industry. These inspiring initiatives are fueled by new (and overdue) research on women in coffee, which gives us critical data to measure real impact.
But there is still a long way to go.
Grounds for Health, an international NGO dedicated to the prevention of cervical cancer in developing countries, is embarking on a large fundraising campaign and it began with a bang. A very generous supporter offered to match every donation received before January 2018, up to $200,000.
Thanks to strong local health partners and coffee industry support, Grounds for Health has successfully screened over 80,000 women and treated more than 6,000 women in low resource settings since 1996.
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By Ruth Ann Church and Josiane Cotrim Macieira, The International Women’s Coffee Alliance
In coffee, the women who perform much of the labor – up to 70%, according to the ITC’s Coffee Exporters’ Guide – to grow, harvest, process, and export coffee are all too often invisible.
Few organizations are focused on collecting or publishing data specifically on the women involved in the supply chain for commodities like coffee; and there has been little to no funding allocated to this task. Even in Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producing country, the lack of data makes one believe that women do not exist.
Experts agree that women are the greatest untapped resource available to avert challenges to the global coffee industry. But the lack of data on women makes it impossible to understand their impact in the value chain. This leads to under-performance in the coffee industry, much like how poor recognition of contributions in any industry can cause lagging productivity.
“Gender equality is both a fundamental human right and a necessary foundation of an economically prosperous coffee community.”
– Robério Oliveira Silva, former Executive Director of the International Coffee Organization (ICO)
This International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the work of women in coffee, and to advocate for gender equality across the entire supply chain.
But how can the coffee industry go beyond the hashtag and create systematic opportunities for women to thrive?
Curated by Melissa Pugash and Margaret Swallow
Join experts Jane Marvin, Senior Vice President, People and Culture at Peet’s Coffee and Tea; and Henriette Kolb, Head Gender Secretariat, International Finance Corporation for an in-depth in the break-out session titled, “The Business Case for Gender Diversity in the Coffee Sector – Actionable Steps Your Business Can Implement Now” at the NCA 2016 Annual Convention in San Diego, on Friday, March 18, 3 p.m. PDT.
Bring your questions and get the answers you need to foster diversity and inclusion in your company’s workforce. You’ll come away with tips for building the right team, with the right talent for your company’s needs, now and in the future.
For those interested in learning more, here is a curated list of resources on a variety of diversity related topics:
By Melissa Pugash and Margaret Swallow
“Diversity matters because we increasingly live in a global world that has become deeply interconnected. It should come as no surprise that more diverse companies and institutions are achieving better performance. Most organizations, including [ours], have work to do in taking full advantage of the opportunity that a more diverse leadership team represents, and, in particular, more work to do on the talent pipeline: attracting, developing, mentoring, sponsoring, and retaining the next generations of global leaders at all levels.
“Given the increasing returns that diversity is expected to bring, it is better to invest now, as winners will pull further ahead and laggards will fall further behind.”
Source: Diversity Matters*
Whether you are a wholesale roaster, café chain operator, importer, exporter, grower or supplier of allied goods and services, diversity is important to your business.
Research shows that the definition of diversity is changing and that there is an intergenerational difference – what diversity means to a Millennial is quite different from what it means to a Baby Boomer.
But how do you go about implementing the best team building practices in your own company?
Still looking for that perfect gift for the coffee lover(s) in your life?
Whether you’re shopping for a picky coworker or your geeky sibling who already has all the latest gadgets, we got you covered.
In keeping with the spirit of the holiday season, our editors put together a coffee-themed guide to charitable gift ideas that let you make a difference with each dollar.
These are only a few of the many companies and products that make it easy to give back this holiday season. Please let us know if we’re forgetting your favorite in the comments, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.