Woman from Africa holding coffee beans in hands

Of the world's estimated 1 billion poor, 70% are women.

Women own less than 1% of the world’s titled land. The World Bank estimates that more than half a billion throughout the world are dependent on coffee for their livelihoods, and of that number, 25 million are coffee farmers. Coffee farmers typically live and work in substandard conditions, which are compounded by the fact that they receive only a small percentage of the actual price for which the coffee is sold to the consumer. Women, who represent a good majority of coffee farmers, face additional challenges. Aside from the day-to-day struggles women coffee farmers face in order to maintain a respectable standard of living, they also struggle with the gender inequality and violence prevalent throughout the world’s coffee growing regions.

Women farmers often do not have access to health care.

Economic and cultural challenges mean that women farmers are unable to access the funding, resources, or health care that they desperately need. Yet studies show that empowering women coffee farmers leads to healthier families, more resilient communities, and higher quality crops. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that closing the global gender gap in agriculture would increase yields on farms by 20-30%, which could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17%.

Rural women are often subject to violence.

Globally, women do 90% of the fieldwork on coffee farms but own only 15% of the land and traded beans. From the sparsely populated mountains of Honduras to an island on Congo’s Lake Kivu, women—many of them victims of domestic violence—are uniting to provide for their families by growing coffee. Women farmers have to travel on foot from urban or rural areas to farms and face an array of dangers on their way to work or home.