The health of rural coffee workers has an impact on us all
October 15 commemorates the International Day for Rural Women to recognize “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”
From the U.N. Women Website:
Rural women are key agents for development. They play a catalytic role towards achievement of transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development. But limited access to credit, health care and education are among the many challenges they face. These are further aggravated by the global food and economic crises and climate change. Empowering them is essential, not only for the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities, but also for overall economic productivity, given women’s large presence in the agricultural workforce worldwide.
Since 1996, Grounds for Health has focused on sustainable ways to reach these women—to have an impact on the “woman at the end of the road.” We partner with coffee-growing communities because they can help break down many of the barriers that stand between rural women and critical cervical cancer prevention programs.
We also work in these areas because there is a strong link between the health of women and the overall health of the coffee industry. Women make up the majority of the workforce for much of the field work, harvesting and sorting of coffee.
Women’s employment in the coffee sector.
Source: International Trade Center, The Coffee Guide
|Women in the workforce in % of total
||Variations Low – high
||10 – 90%
||20 – 80%
||5 – 50%
||20 – 95%
||0 – 40%
|Others (certifications, laboratories, etc.)
||5 – 35%
It’s clear that women play an essential role in the vitality of not only their families, but also their communities and local economies. Furthermore, since they’re such a critical part of the supply chain, their health has an impact on the entire coffee industry.
The Grounds for Health connection? Cervical cancer kills more women in the developing world than any other cancer, despite the fact that it is easily preventable. By establishing sustainable cervical cancer screening programs in coffee-growing communities, Grounds for Health helps stop these unnecessary deaths and ensures the strength of the coffee supply chain.
In addition, our continuing focus on in-country training and international advocacy empowers local doctors, nurses and community health promoters with the knowledge and skills to help their mothers, sisters and daughters live long, productive lives.
So this morning while you sip your morning cup, take a second to honor the women who helped make it possible. Today is their day.
Women coffee farmers make up a majority of the workforce
Coffee is grown in remote areas
Health of rural women has widespread impact
Women do the majority of picking and sorting work
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