Women, Coffee and Economics
“Women’s Land Rights, Processes of Empowerment, and Data Needs in the Coffee Global Value Chain: A Framework and Review of the Available Evidence”
If this title sounds like a fun time to you, then you are in the right place.
I recently submitted this piece of work as part of the requirements for my Master’s degree in economic development. The motivation for this research stems from my own experience as a coffee professional, in both my capacity as a coffee roaster and a small business owner. Since mid-2017 when I co-founded Floozy Coffee Roasters, an all-female specialty coffee roastery in Newcastle NSW, I have been responsible for making decisions about purchasing and importing coffee beans from all over the world, thus participating directly in the Coffee Global Value Chain. While gender disaggregated data within the coffee sector is lacking, gender inequality at all levels of the supply chain is glaringly obvious – from women producers at origin whose names are rarely included on the bags the coffee arrives in, to the baristas working in local coffee shops whose chances of being promoted are correlated with the lengths of their beards (yet to be tested empirically).
As a participant within the Coffee Global Value Chain as both a roaster and a researcher, I understand my responsibility to use my purchasing power and consumer influence to promote the sustainability of the sector and to ensure more gender equal development outcomes at origin. I also understand that most of us who enjoy a cup of coffee or two a day have absolutely no concept of how that coffee is grown, processed, bought and roasted. Most of us have no idea that some 100 million people in the Global South depend on coffee for their livelihoods.
This paper has provided me with an invaluable opportunity to combine my two great loves in life – economics and coffee. My hope is that this piece of work may contribute to future gender-disaggregated research within the sector and a greater understanding of the role of women at every level of the coffee supply chain.