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It’s International Women’s Day this month. That’s great, but why stop at just one day? This March, Pact is making a point. We’re dedicating the month to raising visibility of #WomenInCoffee, to highlight the gender inequality inherent in coffee farming and beyond, and to promote the incredible work several individuals, associations, and charities are doing to make change happen.

This year’s IWD’s theme is #EachForEqual - because “an equal world is an enabled world”. Pact Coffee is fully behind that, so it’s our job to be part of making things happen.

Women and Coffee: why it’s a discussion worth having again, and again

Wondering what’s the issue with women in the coffee world? Most farmers are moustachioed men in big straw hats, right? Not so much.

Women do 70% of coffee fieldwork and, more generally, agriculture’s workforce is 43% women.

Making up a large proportion of farmers, it’s pretty clear our stereotypes are increasingly unfounded. But if women are such a big part of coffee farming (and farming at large) then how can we accept that…

  • Women own just 15% of land for farming, related equipment, and resulting crop?
  • Women receive only 5% of the relevant training available?
  • Women run just 25-35% of all coffee farms?

It comes down to gender equality. With farming women working a 15-hour day, to a man’s 8 hours, due to the combination of work, childcare and household upkeep, there’s not a lot of time left to fight for emancipation.

But with studies showing that more opportunities for women would mean a 20-30% rise in farm production, and farming already at threat from climate change, can we afford to say nothing?

The McKinsey Global Institute says that “the world economy could add trillions of dollars in growth in the next ten years” if the world meets targets for raising the proportion of women in the workforce. It’s not an act of charity to boost women professionally - it’s essential for our futures.

The Partnership for Gender Equity: why we joined

Joining the Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE) made sense. They’re seeking sustainability in the coffee sector, by investing in gender equity - for all the reasons we’ve already discussed! Their model involves companies like us backing, through them, a women-led coffee group. This helps provide the tools and training they need to further the cause.

For us, that came in the form of Asomuprisma. You might have heard us talk about them before. Based in Neiva, Colombia, the Asomuprisma Women’s Association is a group of 20+ women - some farmers, some working or living on a farm, some the relatives of farmers. But all wanting a voice within the coffee industry.

From the first bulk batch of coffee we bought from the group, we provided practical investment and training days to encourage a spike in crop quality. When that’s exactly what happened, we could go back and buy a number of individual lots at a higher price. This month, seven of those will appear on our coffee menu. Including one very special, Limited Edition lot…

Introducing El Triunfo: our next Limited Edition coffee

El Triunfo Limited Edition

Everybody needs role models. And when those role models look like us, it turns a dream into an achievable reality. El Triunfo is grown by Karla Baquero, the youngest member of Asomuprisma - and the daughter of their lead representative, Siria Cardozo.

Growing up in coffee - and the third generation of women farmers - Karla has seen change already happen on the farm. But she can also see the need for more. So her staying in coffee farming is a powerful move, as she’s proving that women can have a strong, successful place there and inspiring the next generation to keep believing that.

The coffee itself, of course, is delicious. A rich dark chocolate note meets familiar, firm apricot, with its distinctive but mild acidity balancing the cup perfectly. A lingering aftertaste keeps rewarding you with every sip. We love it and so will you, so try it out now! With every purchase, you’ll be supporting Karla… but also backing women in agriculture more generally.

Our ‘Women in Coffee Month’ partner: Hand in Hand International

For both our women-grown Limited Editions this month, £1 from each sale will go to Hand in Hand International. Why? Because we know this conversation is a bigger one.

Women face inequality across the coffee industry, but it’s a broader problem. Hand in Hand International recognise that - across the developing world, no matter what sector they work in - women are disproportionately living below the poverty line. In order to erase poverty, women need to be empowered to take matters into their own hands and succeed as entrepreneurs.

Hand in Hand International are doing that by setting up self-help groups, training women on the skills and knowledge they need to launch their own businesses, providing loans and tools to help them get started, and helping them find paths to bigger markets. They’re tackling poverty to change lives.

Want to show your support? Visit their website or gift yourself one of our Women in Coffee Month Limited Edition coffees, and support women coffee growers and entrepreneurial women in industries across the globe.