STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International

Volume 4, Number 5

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28 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 5, 2015 (October/November) Kimberly Easson, center, and international participants at Partnership for Gender Equity Workshop in Colombia Photo credit line: Courtesy of Coffee Quality Institute Celina Su, Marilyn J. Gittell Chair in Urban Studies at the City University of New York and former executive director of Kwah Dao, the Burmese Refugee Project Photo by Annette Hornischer By Jenny Neill Gender Equity A Coffee Supply Chain Necessity his year, interest in women's roles on coffee farms has reached a new zenith. Many industry leaders now acknowledge that as large numbers of smallholders abandon farms the entire industry is facing an impending labor crisis. Approxi- mately 70-80% of the world's coffee is produced by smallholders. Half of that labor force is female. Women are responsible for more than coffee farming and are often restricted from making decisions about farm or family assets by law or tradition. One-sixth of the countries where women cannot be heads of households also produce coffee for export. In September, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) announced the availability of a white paper produced by SCAA's Sustainability Council, A Blueprint for Gender Equality in the Coffeelands. A few days after that the World Bank released its latest version of its report on legal barriers to women and progress on legal reform Women, Business and the Law 2016. The Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE), a program spearheaded by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), released its Stage 1 report The Way Forward: Accelerating Gen- der Equity in Coffee Value Chains during the 115th Session of the International Coffee Council, meetings, and related events of Expo Milan, in Milan, Italy. A printed executive summary will also be circulated at other fall trade events including Ex- poEspeciales and the conference of the International Women's Coffee Alliance in Bogotá, Colombia in October and at Sinterfcafé in Playa Herradura, Costa Rica in November. The full report is available for free on the CQI website. The organization is encouraging wide readership and engagement in stage 2 pilot projects. Each publication is part of a larger effort to bring greater resilience to communities: the World Bank report focuses on laws and legal reforms as they apply to women on a national basis for 173 economies; SCAA and CQI both center on smallholder communi- ties in the coffee sector, taking care to ground recommendations in research and make Three major papers from non-governmental organizations published in less than a month attest to the fact that gender equality, including women's empowerment, continue as topics of great interest—in the world as a whole and in the coffee sector. T

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