Gender Euity

THE GENDER EQUITY INDEX BENEFITS COFFEE’S HIDDEN WORKFORCE

Thank you to Greg Meenahan, a contributing writer at Bartalks for sending me this press release, and please watch the video which has a short demo of the tool and explains the programme in just a couple minutes.

Washington, D.C., March 8, 2022 – Equal Origins is proud to announce the launch of a new tool to promote gender equity in coffee and cocoa: the Gender Equity Index.

Women play a crucial role in producing coffee. They contribute anywhere between 40-80% of the labor it takes to get coffee beans from the farm to your final cup. However, women’s roles are often undervalued, impacting their ability to gain new skills and seize the same opportunities available to men. Even though the coffee industry invests more than $500 million per year in farmer education and technical support for global producers, most of that money does not reach or benefit women.

The GEI is a diagnostic tool that helps organizations ensure that their programs reach women equally to men and gives them targeted recommendations to improve their efforts. It will enable organizations to evaluate their sustainability programs, consider hurdles that disproportionately affect women, and provide tangible recommendations to actors in the coffee and cocoa sectors.

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To develop the tool, Equal Origins (formerly the Partnership for Gender Equity)  partnered with industry leaders including roasters, green coffee suppliers, and NGOs like Lavazza Coffee Company, Barrie House Coffee Roasters, Allegro Coffee Roasters, Paulig Group, Jot, Caravela Coffee, EFICO Green Coffee, Lutheran World Relief/MOCCA Program, ECOM Group, and Women Forward International.

“This is a very interesting approach,” says Alejandro Cadena, CEO of Caravela Coffee, “because it’s not about creating a siloed gender equity project, but rather seeks to weave gender equity within existing strategies and investments.”

The Gender Equity Index is a 67-question diagnostic tool that focuses on five pillars of gender equity:

  • Organizational Capacity
  • Strategy and Analysis
  • Reach Women
  • Benefit Women
  • Empower and Transform

Equal Origins returns a report with a score and targeted recommendations. From this report, the user can develop an action plan to improve their performance on gender equity, and share their progress with industry partners, investors, and internal stakeholders.

However, the GEI is not just an internal diagnostic tool. Roasters can ask their trade partners to use the tool. From there, they can assess how equitable their sustainability programs are and brainstorm specific efforts to promote gender equity applicable to their position within the industry.

From a roaster standpoint, the GEI tool is a great way to engage our business partners and begin the necessary discussions on gender equity,” says Craig James, NCA member and CEO of Barrie House Coffee in Elmsford, New York. “Barrie House has numerous sustainability programs that we’re actively involved in, but how do we start to truly raise our own expectations to maximize our support of these important programs? One approach is embracing the need to establish gender equity as a recurring budget item within our organization’s annual planning cycle.

With the GEI, the industry can begin to understand the issue of gender equity using a shared language. Much like the language of coffee tasting, building a shared understanding can facilitate conversations for action and impact among partners globally.

The GEI is an empowerment tool,” says Kimberly Easson, Founder and CEO of Equal Origins. “It’s difficult to know how effective any one action is, and the GEI is a simple tool that gives people the language to assess their gender equity capacity. Not only does the GEI provide essential context, but it also offers companies who want to do more or do better a launching pad to start. It’s a tool that empowers people to take action now to promote gender equity.

No coffee is grown without the help of women. It’s time they are offered equitable opportunities to learn, grow, and prosper.

If your company wants to learn more, adopt the tool, or support our work, we encourage you to contact Equal Origins at kimberly@equalorigins.org.

Organizational info

Equal Origins (formerly The Partnership for Gender Equity) creates tools and methodologies to support gender equity across the value chain. These tools aim to improve the lives of producers in the coffee and cocoa industries and enhance the sustainable supply of quality coffee and cocoa.

We strive to improve gender equity using an evidence-based approach. We do this in three ways: 

  • Developing a validated set of tools for organizations to use to assess the impact of their programs on women in producing countries.
  • Establishing a common language so all actors can comprehend and share ideas to improve gender equity.
  • Creating a platform for action that supports scalable investments and action across the coffee and cocoa sectors.

By harnessing the power of collective action within the industry — from growers to buyers to private foundations, to academic institutions — we can shape the future of coffee. Follow us on social media at @EqualOrigins, and find out more about us at www.equalorigins.org

Author

  • Greg Meenahan

    organisation:

    Greg Meenahan’s work focuses on reducing systemic barriers to human development and prosperity. Bringing people and organizations together to achieve social, environmental, and economic impact for disadvantaged people, his experience crosses social safety net programs in the US, literacy development in Guatemala at Child Aid, agronomic and genetic research at World Coffee Research, carbon reporting for Falcon Coffees, and program development at the Partnership for Gender Equity. His articles appear in Roast, Standart, and Bartalks.

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