Coffee Quality Institute Launches Gender Initiative

PORTLAND, OR (September 17, 2014) –The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) is spearheading a collaborative research initiative to better understand the effects of gender inequality on coffee production. Through this initiative, CQI will conduct a series of participatory workshops in four countries and an extensive literature review to create an academically based, industry-relevant report that offers recommendations for investments, partnerships, and pilot projects.

In 2005, CQI launched the Women in Coffee Leadership Program to encourage stronger, more effective leaders in the global coffee community.  The program connected women in consuming countries with women from a Latin American coffee community, effectively enhancing leadership and technical skills in addition to building long-term relationships. Since the successful completion of that initial program in 2007, global development indicators have clearly recognized the importance of gender throughout agricultural value chains, in which women’s leadership is but one critical component.

CQI’s new approach – through research in partnership with key industry and development partners – will inform not only CQI’s own strategic approach to gender, but also encourage industry collaboration to pilot and invest in programs that will really move the needle on this critical issue in coffee. Tracy Ging , vice president sustainability + strategic initiatives of S & D Coffee and Tea, notes, “The development sector has been pretty clear about the role women can play in strengthening family and community resiliency, but translating that awareness into supply chain strategies is the next step. There is certainly an opportunity for collaboration across the sector for designing effective gender approaches.”

The research compiled from the 2014-2015 workshops will be an ideal platform for driving purposeful, data-driven initiatives, not only within CQI, but among the industry as well. CQI invites the industry to play a key role in this initiative by becoming a funding partner, or participating in an upcoming workshop. The workshops will be highly participatory, in-depth, professionally facilitated sessions exploring the context of gender in coffee producing communities and throughout the coffee value chain.  Specifically, the workshops will explore key questions about the link between quality and gender, and reveal potential solutions for the industry moving forward. The first workshop is in Popayan, Colombia: October 4-8, 2014. Space is still available.

For more information about the initiative or the upcoming workshop in Colombia, please visit, or email Kim Hirshberg (

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