August 26th commemorates the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, which ensures voting rights for everyone regardless of gender. Today on National Women's Equality Day, we honor the contributions and achievements made by women in the coffee world. However, we recognize there is still work to do in women’s rights and gender equity in the coffee supply chain, and we are reminded of the unique daily struggles that women face.
The Important Role of Women in Coffee
It is estimated that women make up to 70% of all coffee production at the farm level. From picking the ripe coffee cherries off the tree to sorting beans throughout processing, they serve in roles that most affect coffee quality. This means your morning brew derives much of its special qualities because of these women. However, from earning little income to lack of representation in leadership roles, women in agriculture face many obstacles. For example, a recent study shows that with respect to land area, only 9.1% of all coffee farming land in Brazil is run by women.
The IWCA, with chapters around the world, empowers women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives. Since 2003, the organization has been providing resources and training to encourage the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry, and much progress is being made.
In addition to farming, representation from women is being recognized in other coffee-related roles as well. Female coffee roasters are breaking down stereotypes in a space traditionally for men. Others are opening their own cafes or stepping into leadership roles at popular coffeehouse chains. Women are taking on the world stage at the World Barista Championship (WBC) and World Brewers Cup (WBrC), among other high-profile competitions.
Elevating Coffee with Heather Perry
One of those women is Heather Perry, CEO of Klatch Coffee. The skills she has learned at Klatch equipped her to win many titles including Two-Time U.S. Barista Champion, and taking 2nd place in the World Barista Championships to name a few.
These titles helped to solidify Perry's reputation as a professional trainer, and she trains and consults for individuals and organizations in over a dozen countries. She is also the past Chair of the Barista Guild of America where she helped to design and launch their Certification Program. Perry is also a Past President of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).
Here, Perry sits down with Brewista to discuss the "Lifecycle of Coffee" and the similarities to her own journey. From a young age she was involved with coffee, and nothing since then has really changed. Her extensive experience is what makes her a crucial leader at Klatch and within the industry as a whole.