March 8, 2024.



reading time

4 min

Women make up almost half of the world’s agricultural workforce, and even 70 percent of jobs in the coffee industry are performed by women – they are the backbone of global agricultural production. They are usually involved in all processes, from manual picking to sorting to processing. In Ethiopia, which is considered the cradle of coffee and where coffee is deeply rooted in society, women often take up to 90 percent of the total work on farms. However, according to a recent report by the International Coffee Organization (ICO), only less than a third of coffee farms are run by women.

Unlike their male counterparts, it is more difficult for women to advance in decision-making roles, while their access to education and financial resources is limited. As such, many women coffee producers struggle to reach their full potential on farms, and their contributions are overshadowed by men.

These data are only part of the story. Throughout the coffee supply chain, women, even among baristas, traders or coffee roaster owners, often do not have equal opportunities to rise to senior positions where they can make a real difference.

However, some women change things.

One of the inspiring examples of a woman from the coffee industry who talks about women’s rights is Aida Batlle. The well-known coffee producer from El Salvador has become known for its high-quality coffees and innovative approaches to cultivation.

Aida Batlle is a fifth generation coffee grower from El Salvador who has become famous as one of the most skilled growers today. More than 15 years ago, Aida realized that her family’s farm was struggling because of the low price of standard El Salvadoran coffee. She came up with the idea of treating coffee like wine. She focused more on quality than quantity and she succeeded!

In just a few years, she has become one of the most recognizable names in the coffee industry. They called her the “star of agriculture”.

Not only that, Aida Batlle became the first woman ever to win the prestigious Cup of Excellence award in El Salvador. Her achievements and the quality of her coffee have earned her a reputation as one of the leading coffee producers in the region.

Aida is not only a successful entrepreneur, but also a great advocate of women’s rights and equality. Actively participates in local and global initiatives that support the empowerment and participation of women in rural coffee-growing communities.

Her inspiring story is certainly a role model for many women in the coffee industry around the world, and her example encourages them to fight for their rights, highlight their talents and contribute to positive changes in the industry.

Another woman in the world of coffee who overturned the current practice and showed how women in the world of coffee can achieve extraordinary results and win the most prestigious awards is the Polish Agnieszka Rojewska. barista Agnieszka became the first woman to win the title of World Espresso Champion at the 2018 World Barista Skills Championship. The championship was launched in 2000 as a central event in the coffee industry that brings together the best baristas from around the world, and it took a full 18 years until a woman won this prestigious award.

But it is important that things change, and Agnieszka’s victory is an important moment for the coffee industry and has contributed to the promotion of gender equality and the recognition of women’s achievements in the coffee industry.

And Sunalini Menon, founder of Coffeelab Limited, became known as a pioneer in promoting specialty coffee from India on the international market. Menon plays a leading role in the development of the Indian coffee industry, she is known for her support of coffee growers, educating consumers about the value of specialty coffee and promoting Indian coffee varieties on the world market.

Menon is responsible for the global recognition of Indian coffee and encourages the sustainable development of Indian communities in this area. Her path in the coffee industry is the result of a combination of exceptional enthusiasm and passion for coffee and a research spirit.

All over the world, women still face barriers to education, which limits their opportunities for career advancement and leadership positions. In many societies, traditional gender roles limit women’s opportunities for advancement, including in the coffee industry.

Although the situation is slowly changing, there is a growing awareness of the importance of including women in leadership positions in the coffee industry. Many organizations are taking steps to promote gender diversity and inclusion at all levels of their structure, including leadership positions.

One of them is the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, a global network that promotes women’s participation in all aspects of the coffee value chain. The organization supports women in education, business opportunities and advocates for their rights and equality in the coffee industry. Another project focused on empowering and encouraging the participation of women in the specialty coffee industry is the Women in Coffee Project. Through education, mentoring and networking, the project supports women in career development and helps them achieve success in the coffee industry.

Sunalini, Agnieszka and Aida are just a few examples of women whose work is changing the coffee industry for the better, supporting sustainability, inclusion, workers’ rights and coffee quality around the world.

Their work is critical to creating positive change in the industry and promoting a better future for all stakeholders in the coffee value chain. It is also proof that DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in the coffee industry is becoming an increasingly important issue as it is recognized that diversity and inclusion bring numerous benefits to the coffee industry.