‘Each time that the men go to the co-operative, the women should go too… Because women and men basically do the same work, so I would like us all to be treated the same… Instead of waiting for someone to come and explain everything to us, I think we should come and listen and see for ourselves.’
— Charlotte Affoue Kouakou, cocoa farmer, Côte d’Ivoire
It’s been an important year for Fairtrade’s work on gender so that more farmers and workers like Charlotte can make their voices heard.
Charlotte was one of 25 women linked to Fairtrade co-operatives who took part in a project to make their own powerful short film about what it is like to be involved in cocoa farming. Growing our Cocoa, Raising our Voices shows how women want to do different kinds of work, have greater control over household income and be more involved in their co-operatives and decision-making.
As a result of taking part, the women felt better able to push for their interests within the co-operatives and the films are being used for discussions on gender in workshops with other producers in Africa.
In 2015, we also launched our Equal Harvest report in the UK, exploring the barriers women farmers face in taking part in Fairtrade co-operatives. The report helped inform Fairtrade’s new gender strategy, launched in early 2016, which aims to tackle imbalances between men and women.
Another project to take root last year was the Women in Coffee project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission. Three hundred women in Kenya now own coffee bushes, transferred from their husbands, enabling them to earn an independent income for the first time. They are also benefiting from agricultural training and biogas cookstoves for their homes, reducing the time they spend collecting firewood and their exposure to smoke.
26% of Fairtrade farmers and workers are women
‘The workshop has given me greater strength. I am going to contribute, make more of an effort to be part of the co-operative. That will help my cocoa production to be more successful.’
Aïssata Rado on taking part in the Growing our Cocoa, Raising our Voices film project