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EBRD supports gender equality in the coffee sector

EBRD supports gender equality in the coffee sector

 September 18, 2018

Barbara Rambousek, Director for Gender and Economic Inclusion at the EBRD, spoke at an event hosted by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) to highlight the importance of inclusion and enhanced access to economic opportunities for women in agribusiness.

Barbara leads the EBRD’s project and policy programmes on economic inclusion across all of the Bank’s sectors and regions of operation.

Fighting for women coffee farmers

Barbara's talk formed part of the International Coffee Organization's "Thematic Workshop: Women in Coffee" event in London. ICO is the main intergovernmental organisation for coffee, bringing together exporting and importing Governments to tackle the challenges facing the world coffee sector through international cooperation. 

Gender equality is this year's focus for the ICO, with all their development projects aiming to address and provide solutions to reduce the gender gap in the coffee sector.

"Women play a crucial role in the global coffee value chain, from bean to cup. Up to 70% of labour in coffee production is provided by women, and around 25% of coffee farms worldwide are managed by female growers. However, compared to men, female farmers face constraints in accessing production factors, markets, finance and extension services, resulting in a gender gap in coffee yield and income," says the ICO whose 2018 International Coffee Day theme is ‘Women in Coffee’. 

"The gender gap extends further along the coffee value chain where women can often face social, cultural and economic barriers preventing them from reaching their employment and entrepreneurship aspirations," says the ICO.

A panel promoting gender equality

Participants in the the Thematic Workshop discussed with a panel of experts ways of creating gender equality in the coffee sector. Topics of discussion included how coffee roasters can empower women through sustainable sourcing policies, what the role of women farmer groups is in improving market accesss, and what is the role of consumers in fostering gender equality.

Barbara participated on the panel alongside Ann Mayanja, Managing Director, Coffee World (Uganda) Ltd, Melanie Landthaler, Consultant on Coffee Sustainability and Gender Equality, Nestlé Nespresso, and Casey Lalonde, Co-Founder, Girls who Grind Coffee. Barbara's presentation focused on strengthening the participation of women in the agribusiness value chain.

The EBRD and economic inclusion

Barbara's discussion aligned with the EBRD's policies on economic inclusion.

Economic inclusion, the opening up of economic opportunities to under-served social groups, is integral to achieving a transition towards sustainable market economies.

"An inclusive market economy ensures that anyone regardless of their gender, place of birth, family background, age or other circumstances, over which they have no control, has full and fair access to labour markets, finance and entrepreneurship and, more generally, economic opportunity. Inclusion is thus an intrinsic element of a sustainable market economy," says the EBRD.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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