The economic situation for families in the rural communities of Mexico’s coffee producing regions has always been difficult. But for women, the difficulties have always hit harder.
Facing a high rate of migration among the males in their families to foreign countries, many women became the sole earner for their families—and, often, extended family—attempting to earn a living in a workforce biased against them.To help combat unfair compensation and economic disparity for women coffee producers in the region, in 2005, the CESMACH cooperative decided to create the Café Femenino Mexico Program.
Now more than 146 women strong, the Café Femenino Mexico Program has helped its women producers make great strides in earning their fair share, owning their land, and understanding the ins and outs of their industry.These women coffee farmers have risen up to every challenge thrown in their paths, but they aren’t finished yet. As they continue to gain more confidence and experience as leaders and decision-makers in their community, the women of the Café Femenino Mexico Program are more committed than ever to growing their program and building a more equitable future for their children and grandchildren.
When the Café Femenino Mexico Program first began, the primary objective was to empower the women producers with information about the program, its underlying concepts, and the new opportunities that participation would afford them. Through initial program reference materials and three workshops, the women established a firm understanding of the program and how they could adapt their professional lives to better collaborate with each other and the many supportive groups involved with the Café Femenino program. With this foundational knowledge, the women were able to continue their education into more advanced concepts of leadership and self-empowerment.