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Mondelez International Takes Steps to Advance Women’s Rights in Cocoa Farming

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Mondelez International Takes Steps to Advance Women’s Rights in Cocoa Farming

Mondelez International Takes Steps to Advance Women’s Rights in Cocoa Farming
May 09
10:06 2014

Mondelez International has unveiled plans to help advance the rights of female cocoa farmers in two of the world’s largest cocoa-growing countries – Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The action plans respond to new third-party assessments by Harvard University and CARE International, which revealed striking gaps in income and opportunities for female cocoa farmers.

In Ghana, female cocoa farmers earn 25-30 percent less than their male counterparts; in Cote d’Ivoire, women in cocoa communities earn up to 70 percent less than men. And in both countries, women struggle with lower farm productivity, smaller farms and less access to financing and farm inputs.

“Gender equality benefits everyone and is essential if cocoa communities are to thrive,” says Christine M. McGrath, vice president of External Affairs and Cocoa Life. “These assessments underscore the size of the challenge we face in boosting female cocoa farmers’ incomes and advancing women’s rights in cocoa farming. This affirms our decision to promote gender equality as a cross-cutting theme when we first created Cocoa Life, and it bolsters our resolve to help lead the fight to eradicate this issue in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, our two largest cocoa origins.”

In 2013, Mondelez International pledged to extend its reporting on gender rights in cocoa farming and apply a consistent approach to gender programs in its origin markets, while advocating for industrywide action. The new third-party assessments on the status of women in cocoa communities were completed by Michael J. Hiscox and Rebecca Goldstein of Harvard University for Ghana, and by CARE International for Cote d’Ivoire.

Mondelez International’s new action plans build on its Cocoa Life sustainability program, a $400 million, 10-year effort launched in 2012 based on its successful Cadbury Cocoa Partnership in Ghana, which has promoted gender equality in cocoa production since 2008.  In Cote d’Ivoire, where Cocoa Life is expanding from pilot to full implementation,

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