“Men walk one thousand steps while women walk twenty thousand steps”
Gender in Coffee is a documentary with a slightly vague title that could have been a lot more specific and in line with their message. This film is focused only on gender equity at the farm level and does not entirely cover all the other aspects of coffee such as distribution, roasting and barista service. It is hyper focused on a few members of the PROCAFEM Cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico almost to a flaw. But get past that, and the documentary opens up.
Gender equity is a very hot topic everywhere, especially in places of work. Seeing that even coffee farmers, men and women alike, are getting the education that they need in order to have equal opportunities for a sustainable livelihood is great news.
We give this film 4 out of 5 stars.
The film is also a reality check to the fact that the people who produce our coffees are in such bad financial situations. This, for me, highlighted another pressing issue that producers should be compensated more for their produce. Through the film, I learned so much about the struggles of coffee farmers. One thing that stood out to me is that producing coffee is laborious and for a good part of the year, most farmers do not have income but they still work in their farms daily. It’s also a family business, at the end of the day. Sons help their fathers tend to the land and process the cherries while most women do their part by staying at home to take care of their children and other household chores. However, a few women are lucky enough to have their own plot of land — usually given to them by their husbands — and this means they have all the responsibilities of a coffee producer on top of their family obligations.
The last twenty minutes of the film is about women in different levels of coffee production. We talk to the distributors and roasters who give their brief anecdotes of how it’s like to be a woman in the coffee industry. But somehow all of them circled back to talking about the farm level and how they have little idea how equity is like for women in different farms especially in third world countries. This left me with a lot of questions about the other issues in the chain. There are a lot of issues to tackle about gender equity in coffee and this documentary is a good way to dip toes in while also developing an understanding of where their coffee comes from. Gender in Coffee is a good documentary with visuals that effectively transport you to Chiapas, Mexico to deliver a message that will enlighten.
In conclusion, it must be said that Gender in Coffee has so much more potential. A big topic like this could maybe be more effectively tackled with a four-part documentary that goes deeper with the areas of the coffee industry that the film members already went to, but didn’t manage to go deeper with. That said, what we do get to see is how gender equity does truly improve the situation of coffee-producing families in the world. Coffee is for everyone, man or woman.
WATCH “Gender In Coffee” Here:
This review is part of “EQUALITY,” Part 5 of 6 in the 2020 Mini Coffee Film Fest. See the other part, “Women In Coffee” here: