New research aims to improve women’s participation in the banana industry

New research aims to improve women’s participation in the banana industry

Banana Link has just published the results of research we have undertaken to analyse the participation of women workers and small producers in the global banana industry. The working papers, documenting the research findings, include statistics on women’s’ participation in the industry, an analysis of the potential causal factors for this varying level of participation, identification of the key issues faced by local women workers and producers in the workplace and at home, the different roles/tasks that women carry out in the different countries and companies and any existing innovations that are helping to provide Decent Work and sustainable livelihoods to women in the banana sector.

The main findings are that:

  • Women comprise less than a fifth of the global workforce in the banana export industry.
  • The highest participation of women in the industry is in the Caribbean (excluding the Dominican Republic) where 40% to 45% of workers and small producers are women
  • The lowest participation in in Latin America (12.5%), the Dominican Republic (12.5%) and Cote d’Ivoire (11%).

Key causal factors for these differing levels of participation include:

  • levels of overall gender equity in local cultures / societies
  • provision of childcare (linked to the above point)
  • dependency on migrant labour, with men more likely to migrate to work on plantations than women
  • the diversity of roles that are deemed ‘appropriate’ for women
  • company policy and practice that may promote, or discriminate against, women
  • the extent to which banana farms are deemed as ‘women friendly’ workplaces

The research, which was commissioned by the World Banana Forum (WBF), is intended to inform decision making and the development of appropriate activities and programmes on gender equity within the WBF, and within the ongoing activities of the its banana industry members. It also includes a series of recommendations targeted at various stakeholders – civil society, small producers, companies, retailers, certification bodies, and multi-stakeholder platforms – towards the provision of Decent Work and sustainable livelihoods for women in the banana sector.

Read the full collection of working papers – Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean regional reports, plus a global overview – here.