In many countries women still have to fight for their basic rights, especially when it comes to their role within agriculture.
UTZ is committed to improving gender equality on all our farms.
In order to do so, we must take into account underlying social structures and gender roles. Through a combination of strong guidelines within our Code of Conduct, and training and awareness raising, we are helping to remove the barriers that stop female farm workers and owners from fulfilling their potential.
Longer Hours, Less Pay
Although not always visible to buyers, women are very much involved in the production of coffee, cocoa and tea. But social and cultural issues mean they often work longer hours, for less pay, than men do.
They are less likely to own land, or to have access to education, loans or training. On top of this, the burden of household chores and childcare still fall overwhelmingly on women’s shoulders.
The resulting ‘gender-based yield gap’ is a critical factor in farming, as crops from female farmers are often of lower quality, and so sell for a lower price. However, it has been shown time and again that women more often spend their earnings on family expenses, meaning they can potentially play an important role in poverty alleviation.
The UTZ Code of Conduct
The UTZ Code of Conduct states that:
- Discrimination in hiring, pay, access to training, promotion or other benefits is prohibited.
- Equal work must receive equal pay, which the certificate holder must be able to show with wage records.
- Women are entitled to maternity leave and additional rest breaks after childbirth.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women are not allowed to handle or apply agrochemicals.
- Women must have open access to training, educational program and awareness raising sessions informing them of equal rights and opportunities.
In addition, we use a gender checklist in all our projects to ensure gender sensitive development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of field activities. We work together with local organizations to promote active inclusion of women in training programs.
In this way, we aim to increase sustainability by helping end the discrimination that so many women face.