The article

This article analyzes the little understood gendered relations and issues related to women’s empowerment in Colombian family coffee farms. We used multiple qualitative methods of inquiry to assess women coffee producers’ empowerment and agency within both economic and political spheres. Despite their traditional participation in domestic work and their subordinate position in coffee production, we demonstrate that a significant percentage of women coffee producers have been empowered through participation in state-funded coffee renovation and specialty coffee certification programs.

Reference Pineda, J. A., Piniero, M., & Ramírez, A. (2019). Coffee production and women’s empowerment in Colombia. Human Organization, 78(1), 64-74.

The researcher

Javier Pineda

Associate Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center for Development Studies –Cider, Universidad de los Andes. Bogotá, Colombia

The interview

Hello Javier, thank you for accepting this invitation to a coffee break how are you doing?

Fine, thank you. I’m having a delicious Colombian black coffee, which one are you having? I’m also drinking black coffee as a good Colombian.

I would like to talk with you about a paper you wrote in which you explore how coffee production enhances women empowerment in Colombia.

The objective of this article is to understand women’s empowerment in the southwest of Colombia in the context of an important public coffee renovation or certification programs. The article explores how during the recovery from 2009 coffee production, a significant percentage of women managed to become coffee producers, how gain access to training, to credit, to receive payments and subsidies and both in the national federation and coffee producers elections, at that time.

I understand that the key notion of your paper is empowerment could you please give us a definition of it?

Yes we take the classical definition of Naila Kabeer. She defines empowerment as the ability of people to make strategic-like decisions in a context where disability was privately denied to them. Specifically the research ascends women’s coffee producer levels of empowerment and agency using 24 analytical categories along economic, social and political dimensions.

Thank you for explaining that now I would like to know which ones were the main findings of your research?

Well the main finding is that indeed it is possible to change gender relation and women’s empowerment by public intervention of state-funded programs. Although it wasn’t an objective at all of these programs, it was evident that women’s agency needed an opportunity to gain a space for regional development. Another important finding was the new organizational capacity of women in producing special coffees because this was central for fostering community development, because it contributed to increase the social capital and the new economic activities in regional economies.

That seemed fascinating to know, I would like to know what was your personal motivation in doing this paper?

Well for a long time I have done research on gender and development issues, but particularly in this case um facing the reality of a developing country with a high level of violence, particularly violence against women, it is a personal motivation to me to do research on women and how it is possible from a public program to change reality especially reality in terms of gender relations.

And finally Javier could you please tell me which ones were the key policy implications of your paper?

Well the first implication is the importance to strengthen public policies supporting women organizations as a way to get women empowerment and are having this objective explicitly in programs as a central approach.

A second implication is to diversify economics by supporting women’s empowerment and giving an opportunity to implement gender policy in other sectors of the economy.

Thank you very much Javier for having this nice chat with me I wish you all the best for your future research and hope to see you next time bye-bye.

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