• QA 228
    Where to find statistics on the role of women in the coffee sector?
    Do you have statistics on women employed in coffee plantations?
    Asked by:
    Student - USA

    Little or no formal research exists on the role of women in the coffee sector. This is surprising considering it is well known that women undertake the majority of the sector's maintenance and harvesting work, particularly so in family-owned smallholder plots in Africa (but also elsewhere). Despite this vital contribution women mostly have little influence or control over the harvest proceeds whereas industry structures rarely make provision for their interests.

    The International Trade Centre - ITC (www.intracen.org) has over time undertaken a certain amount of informal data collection on the role of women in the coffee sector, in collaboration with women's groups as the International Women's Coffee Alliance - IWCA and the East African Fine Coffees Association - EAFCA.

    The tables below provide an overview based on these estimates but it must be stressed that the variations between individual coffee producing countries and coffee production systems are enormous. Economic circumstances also play an important role - for example in Brazil men undertake the majority of fieldwork. This is partly because of mechanization but also because women have increasingly been able to move into more attractive and better paying jobs.

    Table 1.  Estimated Women's employment in the coffee sector 

    Women in the workforce in % of total 


    Low - high 


    Field work …

    10 - 90


    Harvest …

    20 - 80


    Trading in-country …

    5 - 50


    Sorting …

    20 - 95


    Export …

    0 - 40


    Others  (certifications, laboratories, …)

    5 - 35


    Table 2.  Estimated Women's ownership in the coffee sector 

    Women's ownership in % of total 

    including co-ownership 


    Low - high 


    Land used for coffee production

    - including user rights

    5 - 70


    Coffee- when harvested

    2 - 70


    Coffee- when traded domestically

    1 - 70


    Companies in the coffee sector (exporters, laboratories, certifiers, transportation…)


    1 - 30




    For more detailed overview of this interesting subject is available, please click here . Visit also IWCA at www.womenincoffee.org as well as the Café Femenino Foundation at www.coffeecan.org and EAFCA at www.eafca.org.


    Posted 28 July 2009 

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