IWCA sets an organizational five year strategic plan on how to promote women in coffee

IWCA sets an organizational five year strategic plan on how to promote women in coffee

October 22 - 2022

Coffee Geography Magazine

The International Women's Coffee Alliance (IWCA), a non-profit organization based in the U.S to promote coffee businesses owned by women and women workers has conducted a board meeting in Denver, Colorado for a strategic planning session to identify priorities for the next five years. 

“I am very energized by the outcomes of the strategic planning session, which will move the organization forward.” said the executive director, Dr. Sarada Krishnan. “Staff will now work hard to develop an operational plan to achieve these goals. Over the next few months, we will share our vision for the organization with all our stakeholders.”

Dr. Sarada Krishnan

Executive Director, Dr. Sarada Krishnan for IWCA

IWCA leads women's empowerment in the international coffee industry by supporting a global network of independent, self-organized, self-governing organizations, called IWCA Chapters. Each IWCA Chapter develops and implements its own strategic priorities and membership models, following the IWCA Chapter Formation Protocol. 

The organization also facilitates organizational partnerships with other multi-stakeholder organizations, including African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA), International Coffee Organization (ICO), National Coffee Association (NCA), Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and World Coffee Alliance (WCA).

iwca board meeting

IWCA Board and Staff during the strategic planning session

Women contribute significantly to the global coffee sector. Between 20% and 30% of coffee farms are female-operated and up to 70% of labor in coffee production is provided by women, depending on the region. However, the empirical evidence shows that women have systematically lower access to resources, such as land, credit and information, than men. This often results in a measurable gender gap in economic outcomes, including yields, productivity and farm income. 

The gains from closing the gender gap are significant and there is a role for the public and the private sectors, as well as consumers, in fostering empowerment and achieving gender equality. Gender-sensitive and evidence-based public policies, services and programs, as well as sustainable supply chain policies, can reach, benefit and empower women. 

The enhanced access to human and social capital, productive assets as well as finance and skills would enable women to produce more efficiently, achieving higher yields and farm profits. Improving women’s resilience to economic shocks, such as volatile coffee prices, and building adaptive capacity to climate change also fosters long-term sustainability of rural livelihoods and coffee supply. Empowerment of women involved in coffee production – as farm operators, family labor, or workers – directly contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of gender equality. 

Family members and rural communities will benefit from well documented positive spillovers in various dimensions of economic and social development such as food security, health and education in development nations.