Closing the gender gap a cup at a time

Posted on September 23 2021, By: Oneida Franco

Closing the gender gap a cup at a time

Most new ventures start with the desire to make a change or fill a gap. And the best business ideas are usually those that fill an unmet need.

When we started Casa Dos Chicas Café, we were excited to talk about coffee roasting profiles, pour over ratios and the benefits of brewing coffee without a filter. And we will be talking about those subjects from time to time!

But what really got us excited was finding a way to help meet the needs of the coffee growers — many of whom are women — by helping to close the gender gap. 

What does the coffee gender gap look like?

The gender gap in the coffee industry is wide, and it negatively affects not only the women who farm the coffee, but also their families, communities and even the industry itself. In its report, “Gender Equality and Coffee: Minimizing the Gender Gap in Agriculture,” the Specialty Coffee Association identifies four areas where gaps are especially prevalent:

  • Distribution of labor. Female farmers typically work longer days since their responsibilities don’t end with farming activities but include running households and raising children.
  • Women generally work for lower wages than men. And when men control the actual transport and selling of coffee (which is typical), women have less control of the proceeds.
  • Women comprise between 3 and 20 percent of landowners in the developing world — yet they make up between 20 and 50 percent of the agricultural labor force.
  • Leadership and decision-making. When women don’t own land, they are less likely to be involved in farming cooperatives, hold leadership roles in associations, or manage farms — and therefore have less of a voice in decisions that can directly impact their welfare.

How mindful coffee purchasing helps close the gap

Clearly, many barriers to equity still exist. But there are many solutions as well. We are off to a great start and are excited to expand our participation as part of the solution.

Our mission is to support, empower and bring equity to women coffee growers in Latin America by taking a mindful approach to every step of the global supply chain. As we consider sources for the coffees we sell, we prioritize suppliers that are actively addressing the gender gap — by meeting and exceeding Fair Trade standards for wages, directing profits toward the betterment of local farming communities and schools, improving social welfare, and focusing on economic growth in remote regions.   

The opportunity is enormous. Coffee is the second largest commodity in the world, with as many as 100 million agricultural producers worldwide depending on coffee production for their livelihoods. As we build the Casa Dos Chicas Café community — of which you are a part — we join a global movement to close the gender gap in these agricultural communities.

Learn more about our coffees and the regions we support here.