STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 4, Number 3

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16 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 3, 2015 (June/July) By Jenny Neill NEWS The Specialty Coffee Association of America's annual exposition has long been a forum where non-governmental organizers can mix it up with many others involved in producing, exporting, importing, transporting, or selling coffee. The International Women's Coffee Alliance continues to host an annual breakfast at SCAA. Grounds for Health, an organization dedicated to providing gynecological screenings for women, again had a booth in the exposition this year. Many other organizations have sent representatives to partici- pate in North America's biggest specialty coffee event. Fairtrade International and Women for Women International are just two of many examples. At SCAA, the well being of women and children have been part of the conversation about social and cultural aid for years. Often, such discussions revolve around concern for food, water, and personal security at origin but stop short of accounting in a meaningful way for what women actually do. They often gloss over the realities that women often have little legal or actual authority over resources. Still, something seems to be shifting this year and it started during the symposium. The session titled "Gender Equity: Can Shifting our Focus Improve the Coffee Supply Chain?" was well attended. The first speaker, Lorena Aguilar, global senior gender adviser in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, provided a broad context for why governments, non-government organiza- tions, and businesses would do better by seeking out and listening to women. She argued that despite the fact that 90% of 143 countries have at least one law that inhibits women from engaging in econom- ic activity directly, women "…are also an incredible power in the countries and in the world." Aguilar cited as evidence that women earned the equivalent of $113 trillion in 2009, noting this amounts to double the gross domestic product of China and India. Colleen Anunu, a master's degree candidate in International Agriculture and Rural Development at Cornell University, discussed the importance of cultural context in understanding gender dynamics in agricultural settings. She emphasized that funds spent on development aid—be it through grants, loans, or price premiums—can end up not having the intended effect and may, in some cases, worsen the situation for women and children. She went on to outline the many questions the Coffee Quality Institute's Partnership for Gender Equity is investigating in attempt to avoid such traps. Gender Equity, a Participatory Approach Symposium attendees discover and discuss a new approach to encouraging gender equity in the coffee supply chain. Kimberly Easson, v.p. of strategic partnerships and gender program advisor at Coffee Quality Institute. Paineto Baluku, managing director Bukonzo Cooperative Union

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