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Advancing Equity for Women Farmers in the Coffee and Cocoa Sectors

Equal Origins in collaboration with Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs

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Most of the coffee and cocoa around the world is grown on smallholder farms. Nearly half of the labor on these farms is done by women, whose efforts go widely unrecognized. Their work is systematically under-resourced, and their voices left out of the conversations that most impact them, their families, and their futures.


Leading coffee and cocoa companies and development organizations have for decades invested in the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of smallholder farming communities, yet more attention must be given to whether investments have improved the invisible role played by women in these communities. At present, women lack access to essential technical training, financial literacy, capital, and other assets needed to maximize their productive capacity and ensure their livelihoods. These deficiencies, combined with the social norms that exacerbate inequalities between men and women, undermine the supply chain and erode farm resiliency and success, making women and their families even more vulnerable in times of crises such as global temperature increase and the COVID-19 pandemic.


WFI will expand its collaboration with Equal Origins and Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs to conduct research and advise program design for the development of the Gender Equity Index within the cocoa and coffee supply chains.

Deliverables & Impact

Equal Origins and Yale Jackson Institute report will address these issues to drive scalable impact in the coffee and cocoa supply chains through the development and implementation of a Gender Equity Index (GEI). The GEI will motivate extension and advisory service (EAS) providers in the coffee and cocoa sectors to embed gender transformative practices into their operations and programs. The GEI will work in service of key supply chain actors, improving resilience for millions of farming women and their families, increasing accountability and return on investment for businesses, and strengthening the sustainability of the sector overall.

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