By Xavier Hamon
What does gender equity mean to you as a business and as a member of the global coffee community?
Gender equity is about justice – it means that women and men have the same opportunities, taking into account their needs and women’s historically disadvantaged position. As the SCA white paper – A Blueprint for Gender Equality in the Coffeelands – highlights, the gender gap in coffee value chains means that overall, women typically earn less income, own less land, control fewer assets, have less access to credit and market information, greater difficulty obtaining inputs, and fewer training and leadership opportunities than their male counterparts. A strong business case can be made for promoting gender equity in coffee-growing regions: doing so can improve coffee quality and increase productivity, as well as promote rural economic development. Minimizing the gender gap in agriculture offers tremendous benefit to the entire specialty coffee industry, including coffee drinkers.
Initiatives like the Coffee Quality Institute’s Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE) and the women’s coffee programs of roasting and trading companies internationally have raised awareness of gender equity as a challenge and an opportunity for the specialty coffee industry, but what about coffee drinkers? How can we engage with consumers on a more personal level? Can we use documentary film to deepen our conversations about the realities of gender equity in communities that produce coffee and as a jumping-off point to explore this topic at other stages of the value chain, as well?
As a filmmaker with a background in coffee, I am eager to find out what change we can achieve in communities of coffee drinkers when we truly understand the personal experiences of coffee producers. To do this, my partner, artist Hannah Stapleton, and I have launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce a documentary about gender equity in the global coffee community.
This documentary process will begin in Mexico, where we will be living with a coffee farming family and filming in January of 2018. From now until Christmas, we will be researching coffee cooperatives in Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Veracruz that are committed to working toward gender equity, and the value chains that bring their product to coffee drinkers. From February to March of 2018, we will travel north to the West Coast of the United States, interviewing traders, roasters, and coffee shop owners. We will bring the origin story to life at events in cities including San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. Through talks and art exhibitions focused on gender equity, we aim to not only raise awareness but also to engage with coffee drinkers and communities in the United States in an original way.
The film will premiere in Seattle in conjunction with the Specialty Coffee Association’s (SCA) Specialty Coffee Expo, which will take place between the 19th and 22nd of April, 2018.
This documentary will only be produced if the Kickstarter campaign is a success. Contributions will be collected between now and Christmas (end of campaign on 25th December 2017 at midnight) and we hope you will be part of bringing this project to fruition!
On Twitter: @XavHamon
On Instagram: @XaviHamon
Twin (2016), Women Coffee Survey Results
SCA (2015), White Paper: A Blueprint for Gender Equality in the Coffeelands
Twin (2013), Empowering Women Farmers in Agriculture Value Chains
FAO (2011), Closing the Gender Gap in Agriculture
Doss, C. and SOFA Team (2007), The Role of Women in Agriculture. FAO