Economic equality between genders is still quite disparate around the world, and the coffee cultivation industry is no different. In many places, women cannot even own the land they work and if their father or husband dies, the ownership reverts to the state or another male relative, regardless of who is inhabiting and working the land. There are many organizations that are working around the world to change this, because one of the major contributors to cyclical poverty is if a country does not support the personal ownership of land and property. Of course, the reasons for a state to not promote this kind of empowerment are varied and complex — and often can be attributed to long-held cultural beliefs around class and status. Since women are often considered a lower class in many parts of the world, they don’t have a lot of rights around changing laws and systems in order to improve their circumstances.
One project in the coffee industry that is taking on this issue is Cafe Femenino, a consortium of female coffee cultivators that seeks to secure land rights and financial security for its members. What began as a group effort by Peruvian coffee farmers in 2004 has grown into an international organization, which is supported, in part, by the Vancouver, WA, based Organic Products Trading Co. OPTCO is the sole importer of the coffee grown by member farmers and resells to many roasters and retailers around the US.
Learn more about Cafe Femenino, the evolution of the project, where you can purchase this coffee in order to support its growth and Organic Product Trading Co.’s history by visiting the project’s website.