A Google search for "women in chocolate" or "women's chocolate" primarily raises the question of why women (allegedly) love to eat chocolate and why they need it to live. You have to go beyond the usual 2-3 Google pages to actually find serious texts on the subject of “women in chocolate”. The topic is more relevant and important than ever!
Women in cocoa farming and the chocolate supply chain
In recent decades, the chocolate sector has developed into a market dominated by just a few, very large companies. Cocoa cultivation, on the other hand, continues to take place on many small cocoa farms – in West Africa alone, over 2 million small farmers are involved in cocoa cultivation, often under the most precarious conditions (you can find out more about this topic in this insightful book by Orla Ryan, by the way ). Chocolate consumption in Western countries is stable - Germany is second in per capita consumption, just behind Switzerland - and in emerging countries the appetite for chocolate is increasing every year. On the consumer side, there is a wide range of chocolates that are aimed directly at women and are also bought by them. On the cocoa producers' side, however, things are different. Here, the relevance of women in the chocolate sector is recognized far less.
The low recognition of women in the chocolate supply chain is particularly evident in monetary terms. Especially in the early phase of production - plant care, fermentation and drying - women are predominantly active, this work is mostly unpaid or with significantly lower pay than compared to their male colleagues, as studies show . At the same time, the profession of cocoa farmer is becoming less attractive overall for younger people, as it entails a lot of work, poor pay and planning uncertainty. In order to secure cocoa cultivation in the long term, it is all the more important to strengthen and promote women in this area.
What needs to change?
First of all, it always helps to find out where your favorite chocolate comes from. When it comes to high-quality chocolate, chocolate manufacturers know exactly which cocoa farms and which cocoa-growing regions their respective cocoa beans come from. They attach great importance to this information and are happy to share it with other chocolate lovers. Of course, this approach is primarily aimed at checking whether the cocoa farmers work under fair conditions. This is the only way to create a fair basis for women. Incidentally, we only have chocolates in our range that we know exactly where they come from - if this information is not obvious, please write to us. We are happy to provide you with information!
To focus on gender equality when shopping for our shop. We are explicitly looking for products whose cocoa beans have been grown under gender-equitable conditions. In other words: the cocoa beans come from farms or cooperatives where both women and men hold important positions. We get this type of information from Uncommon Cacao , for example, who also deal in detail with the topic of “women in the chocolate sector”. We try to consider the following points when working with chocolate manufacturers, cocoa cooperatives and cocoa farmers:
- that women's work as farmers and their contribution to the value chain is recognized and adequately rewarded;
- that awareness of the topic is raised in the countries of origin and in the entire industry;
- that women are also taken into account in further education and training in cocoa cultivation
- that cooperatives have as equal a proportion of male and female members as possible and that they are treated equally;
- that laws and subsidies for women in cocoa cultivation are promoted and not hindered.
Promoting the above points on gender equality is extremely important. It should always be considered by all actors along the value chain - as well as governments, NGOs and civil society organizations. This is the only way that cocoa cultivation can continue in the future and become fairer and more sustainable in the long run.
And what about women in chocolate making ?
Rodolphe Lindt, Henri Nestlé, John Cadbury - they are all regarded as pioneers and pioneers of chocolate. Pierre Marcolini, Joseph Zotter...the list of men - quite outstanding men - can be continued indefinitely. At first glance, it seems as if there are simply no women in chocolate production and processing. Fortunately, we can tell you: This is an absolute misjudgment :)! Lauren from WKND Chocolate, among others, came to this conclusion and created the 'Well Tempered' podcast. Here she introduces amazing women from the chocolate world, all of whom play an important role in the world of chocolate. Of course, we would particularly like to point out episodes from friends and partners.
Here we go:
Sophie Jewett of York Cocoa Works
Joanna Brennan from Pump Street Chocolate
Emily Stone from Uncommon Cacao
Chloe Stemler from Marou Chocolat
Hazel Lee - Taste with Colour
By the way: the episodes can be enjoyed particularly well with a good, hot chocolate. We already have an idea ... just saying ;)
Not in the podcast but still great: Solvejg from the Bernsteinzimmer , Kelly from Auro, Malou from Macao Movement and Ulrika from Svenska Kakaobolaget .
Are you interested in this topic? It is particularly important to us! If you want to know more about it, please let us know → hallo[at]theyo.de