Gender Equity Is The Key To Sustainable Development--We Need Action Now!

By:  Jennifer R. Gallegos, Vice President Operations, IWCA


Gender Equity is Key to our Sustainable Future - the IWCA (Int'l Women's Coffee Alliance) has thousands of women already in place to take action!

The gender equity topic is finally getting the attention it deserves in agricultural commodities thanks to organizations like the United Nations' ITC, COSA, FNC, CQI, CRS, and the list goes on. If we believe (and hopefully everyone does) what the data and research is telling us – that gender equity is key to sustainable development and to the future of quality agricultural products for generations to come; then we must start to make significant investments in women at every level of the value chain. It is time for action! 

The IWCA (International Woman’s Coffee Alliance) and its chapters have been well positioned to play a significant role in providing solid solutions. Solutions, including: 1) training in quality & productivity, good farming practices, skill development, general business acumen,  2) financing and micro-credit, 3) product procurement/market linkages, 4) next generation succession planning and youth involvement.

The IWCA is working with like-minded organizations to develop gender equity principles that can be applied to sustainable and responsible sourcing initiatives. We are also working on a platform to get coffees to market that are benefiting and empowering women. We are hoping to expand our successful partnership with the ITC beyond Africa. We will be exploring opening a chapter in the US (lots of interest); and most importantly, we will ensure that the women along every level of the value chain in coffee continue to be represented and heard.

Again, if we believe what the research is telling us...then significant investments and resources required to accomplish sustainability goals in the coffee sector will have to be applied to women! These investments can be managed DIRECTLY through our network of organized chapters that connect thousands of women and men in both coffee producing and consuming countries worldwide! 

Read CQI's Gender Equity Stage I findings here.

Additional reading:

Women, Business And The Law 2016 - Getting To Equal by The World Bank

 The Global Gender Gap Report 2014 by the World Economic Forum

Gender Inequality Index (GII) by UNDP

Development Index (GDI) by UNDP

2014 UNESCO Report on Gender Equality and Culture by UNESCO

Women in Business and Management: Gaining Momentum by ILO article:


Gender Resources from Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)

Strengthening the Business Case for Women's Economic Empowerment by International Center for Research on Women

Women's Economic Empowerment documents by OECD

Women's Economic Empowerment resources by UN Women

The Business of Empowering Women: Where, Why, and How by McKinsey & Co