Before diving into how International Women's Day and coffee are related, here’s a quick refresher on what this day, the 8th of March, is about. It’s a day to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness of discrimination and inequality and take action to drive gender parity. It belongs to everyone, everywhere, and all action is valid, no matter how big or small, including drinking your morning coffee.
A day to look around you at the women in your life, celebrate them and also take action to ensure they do have equal rights and equal opportunities and that, in the future, gender parity will become the norm.
Now let’s look at the role of Women in the Coffee Industry.
Women have played an important role in coffee for centuries, from planting and picking the beans to roast and grinding them and finally serving them as delicious cups of coffee.
Women play a massive part in the coffee world, making up nearly half the global workforce. But there are a few things the coffee industry could do better regarding women.
10 Facts About Women In The Coffee Industry
1. Women represent nearly half the world's coffee farmers. But often have less access to resources, training and financial support than their counterparts.
2. In some coffee-producing countries, women can’t own or inherit the land they farm their coffee on, making it difficult to establish themselves in the long term.
3. There is an International Women Coffee Alliance - IWCA founded in 2003 its mission is to help support and empower women in the coffee industry. It has branches in over 20 countries and seeks to drive equality in the industry.
4. Women are often involved in the labour-intensive part of the coffee process, i.e. the harvesting and roasting. Which also tend to be physically demanding and financially undervalued. They tend to perform the labour but need more reward and profit.
5. In many cafes, women make up most of the staff brewing and serving coffee. Have a quick think about who makes and hands you your daily coffee on the go.
6. Women are increasingly taking on leadership roles in the coffee industry by managing, running and serving as board members of coffee companies.
7. Women lead the way in many speciality coffee movements, including eco-friendly and sustainable coffee production that focuses on fair trading and supporting small farmers worldwide.
8. According to Statista, 52.3% of Women drink coffee, while only 47.4% of men do. Our most common order is a latte, and let’s face it, behind every great woman is a great coffee. Or at least for half of us, we’ve no idea how the other half of you manage.
3 Women Behind Great Coffee
A german housewife who got sick of messy, sludgy coffee and in 1908 invented the coffee paper filter. Coming up with the solution using her son's blotting paper, Melitta was soon awarded a patent, set up shop with her husband and her business flourishes to this day. Still owned and run by her family, they sell filter papers and pour-over brewers worldwide.
A coffee industry legend and the first lady of “specialty coffee”, a term she coined to describe differences in flavour, profile and processing. This drove the industry to focus on smaller specialised lots of coffee rather than large batches of low-quality beans. In 1975 she took over BC Ireland, who, in her words, “Were all men and they didn’t think women deserved the break. But I fooled them. I bought the company and fired them all!” re-branded it as Knusten Coffee DC and headed in until she was 93yrs old!
If you’ve been to our Fremantle Markets store, chances are Madga has served you a cup of delicious coffee. One of the driving forces behind Coffee Connection, she is a businesswoman, roaster, barista, manager and all-around wonder woman when it comes to making coffee with flavour. A driving force behind introducing eco-friendly pods, fair trade beans, and sustainable packaging Magda is a woman to behold in the Aussie coffee industry.
How Can You Support Women In The Coffee Industry?
Put your money where your mouth is, or in this case, where your coffee comes from. Support local cafes that are owned and run by women.
Buy beans from companies that support and empower coffee farmers, fair trading and sustainability, as all these factors will help women behind the scenes in the coffee world.
Buy beans from family-owned and women-powered coffee providers, just like us.
Support organisations like the Women In Coffee Project, International Women In Coffee Alliance and Equal Origin. All of whom are working towards empowering women in coffee and equality through education, support and grassroots initiatives.
International Women's Day is about celebrating the achievements of women and taking action to drive gender parity. So today, take a moment to celebrate the women in your life, buy them a coffee and sip on what you can do to drive change going forward.