WBF - Gender issues

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Women working in banana and other tropical fruit production across Latin America and West Africa are increasingly struggling against instability, inequality and discrimination in the workplace. They often work 14 hours a day without overtime pay, lack the freedom to organise, and do not have their rights respected. Women are sacked for being pregnant, have no ante- or post-natal maternity rights and many suffer sexual harassment in the workplace. Moreover, high levels of toxic agrochemical use puts pregnant women and nursing mothers at high risk of negative health impacts for themselves and their (unborn) children.

Gender issues form one of the three priority areas of World Banana Forum Working Group 03.

In December 21015, an important strategy meeing was held in Bonn, Germany. Organised by the Gender Working Group of the WBF and hosted by Fairtrade International, with funding by Fairtrade Germany, women from nine banana producing countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America participated in the meeting.
 
The purpose was to share experiences of the challenges facing women in the industry and initiatives to empower women to improve their conditions. Areas of discussion included the gender pay gap in the industry, the need for women to be able to access education and workplace training, Occupational Health & Safety, and gender based violence in the workplace.

The meeting concluded with a range of strong recommendations for ongoing gender strategy to increase and improve women's engagement in banana export production within the World Banana Forum.
 

Read more:

Interview with trade union activist Iris Munguia, describing how lack of respect for workers' labour rights is widespread in Latin America, especially where there are no unions. Abuses include long working hours, low wages, discrimination and sexual harassment.

International Women's Day: Reflections from Colombia

 

Women in the banana industry

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