Gender equality in the coffee supply chain

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter

In most areas, the equal balance between men and women and other genders continuously varies greatly. The coffee supply chain is no exception. Coffee activists and leaders are doing their best to build a positive environment and the most meaningful and valuable balance for the coffee supply chain. Let’s Learn the Gender equality in the coffee supply chain with Helena!

Gender equality in the coffee supply chain

To understand how far the world is going in building gender equality, let’s look at the results from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. Launched in 2006, the Annual Report details global gender disparities and measures the change in these disparities over time. According to the 2018 report, the world is NOT aiming for an economically equitable future for all.

Although reports of gender gaps in some sectors are at a positive level, such as the gender gap in education levels, the gap in participation and economic opportunities have widened. But the 2017 report indicates that the financial gap returned to its lagging point in 2008, after peaking in 2013. As of 2018, the gender gap remains.

Coffee companies have the opportunity to take action to close the gap if they have a better understanding of the industry’s position.


The coffee industry’s coffee purchasing activities can directly and significantly impact the economy in the opportunity gap. Coffee is an essential part of the global economy. Depending on location in the value line, people will have a different view of how the industry is operating based on economic gender disparities. However, personal opinions cannot reproduce a complete picture without collecting statistically relevant data in the coffee industry.

Coffee is an industry based on small-scale manufacturing agriculture and is built on the quality of raw materials. Women in small production households often perform the majority of the early stages of the manufacturing process on the family farm: planting, pruning, harvesting, and sorting, according to a report by The Forward Forward, released by The Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE) in 2015. Like pillars in family-sized farms, men often control the following stages of production: transporting coffee and bringing it to market.

This division of labor points to the fact that women often have a meaningful impact on the quality of coffee. Therefore, for many manufacturing organizations, gender equality is crucial for businesses and their work. To ensure that female farmers are responsible for the critical stages, decide the quality of the coffee production cycle, be well trained to maintain quality, production organizations must consider gender issues to ensure fairness in accessing information, Enjoy the service and other rights.


Some companies have taken the first steps to probe coffee suppliers for gender equality. Of the 162 people surveyed, 47 (30%) were asked about developing a gender equality program. Of those, between 5% and 75% of their coffee comes from suppliers that have popularized the gender program.

Female coffee, defined as coffee cultivated or processed by women, is part of the gender initiative. But it could also include education on gender equity in the family or simply ensuring gender equality in training on coffee quality. In response to purchases from suppliers with gender programs, the vast majority of sex respondents only refer to buying coffee from female suppliers or sourcing from female farmers. Coffee production from female producers accounts for 3-100%.

Gender equality in the coffee supply chain

Although there is still a long way to go toward gender equity, the results are still positive because 21% of the respondents have gender strategies or gender policies around trade (Strategies vary from trying to recruit more women, selling to many women-owned businesses, learning about gender providers, invest in projects, participate in various platforms such as IWCA, and purchase products from female manufacturers). In addition, 31.4% of those surveyed had an internal gender strategy or policy, such as internal hiring practices, so it would not be overwhelming to expect these companies to expand their hiring system to gender procurement strategies.

As the industry seeks more transparency, it can also be seen as a victory that 30% of businesses can require providers of gendered programs. The number above makes a lot of sense. First, the industry is asking for information; Second, manufacturers are reacting; and third, open up dialogue between the buyer and the seller.

Of the 162 respondents, 25 said they were asking for more accurate information about gender equality through indicators, while 13 had gender indicators included in their measurement system. Eight more companies indicated that participating in the survey inspired them to apply gender measures.


Despite some positive findings, the poll suggests that there is still a lack of knowledge of gender inequality, which impacts the coffee supply chain. One of the survey’s important questions was if gender equality was part of a procurement strategy or whether measuring may be discriminatory.

While people respond to the question “what constitutes sexism,” PGE responds by defining equality: “Consideration of gender equality does not mean that we must stop looking at individuals in terms of competence, needs, or personality; instead, discussing gender equality allows us to empathize with and eliminate others. “Natural separation. In the case of small-production agriculture, gender thinking means that providers have additional considerations available to women to participate in training courses, such as providing childcare or allowing women to take their children to meetings.

One expressed concern that requiring manufacturing organizations, in particular, to share information about gender equality through indicators could pose an undue burden. This concern has been raised in candid discussions between coffee buyers and production organization representatives in the Co-Design Lab’s recent series of conversations. The co-Design Lab’s goal is to assess the feasibility of piloting gender criteria for manufacturing organizations to help connect interested buyers and sellers. To be fair. The discussions helped develop a range of interests for end-of-market buyers and feasibility for reporting production organizations. Twelve of the 15 manufacturing organizations worldwide may give sub-categories of data on gender equality in leadership, membership, land information, and training participation.

In the same Co-Design Lab conversation, many production organization representatives also expressed pride in a gender strategy or gender policy. They also said that being gender-focused is essential for the business, maintaining coffee production, and providing producers with a livelihood. Most people view data collection and reporting not as an undue burden but as a responsibility to members and customers.


One of the most notable points of PGE from conversations with the Co-Design Lab is the access to information that is empowered for both manufacturing organization representatives and market companies. Manufacturing organizations have asked for dialogue and detailed guidance on how to share approach gender equity, understanding it leads to greater market access, as the survey seems to have confirmed. Meanwhile, companies want to know what kind of information makes the most sense and how they can easily access it.

To date, Hub has focused on how companies can measure the impact of programs linked to the general gender measurement framework in the coffee industry, developed by PGE with support from the Global Coffee Platform (GCP). The #GenderMetrics group brought together leading companies such as Kyagalanyi (Uganda), Sustainable Harvest, S&D Coffee and Tea, Falcon, Matthew Algie, Nestlé, and Starbucks to share their current activities webinars slides and facilitate discussions to promote collaboration and information discussion.

“The more firms and organizations interact and learn from one another, the more resources they can share with others trying to create a gender-equity approach,” Margaret Cuellar, head of S&D Coffee and Tea’s sustainability strategy, stated. More knowledge also means a better starting point for everyone when crafting powerful calls to action.

Through these efforts, PGE is working to support buyers and sellers to share information, data, and lessons learned to highlight the potential impact of the entire supply chain when we talk about gender equity. In an area where its future depends on the economic well-being of everyone in the supply chain, the coffee industry must do what it can to address the gender gap. With an increased focus on gender equity in purchasing relationships, the coffee industry has the opportunity to bring economic participation and opportunity gaps to the forefront, contributing to the development of gender equity for all.

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