Women of the JCFC
As with all coffee cultures around the world, the women of each community play such a crucial role in the successful and sustainable production of coffee on the Bolaven Plateau.
However, before all other coffee responsibilities, they are family caretakers, firewood collectors, household finance managers, primary healthcare providers, teachers, and food providers. Given the fact that coffee is one of the top 3 most labor intensive crop, adding their coffee-centric efforts on top of their already full plate of responsibility, it is incredible to witness the wide-array of effort each woman puts forth towards the betterment of their family and community. Women are the backbone of Lao coffee and they often do not receive enough credit for how hard they work.
When it comes to coffee production, women are responsible for 60-70% of all the work involved with planting, growing, processing, and drying their coffee into parchment at their family wet-mills. They also provide most of the effort to select all the green bean defects when it comes time to process parchment into green, ready-to-export beans.
When Jhai Coffee House and Filanthrope began regularly working with the JCFC five years ago, it was very rare for women to attend meetings and trainings at Jhai Coffee House. Over time this has changed with relationship building and engagement at the village level. Throughout four harvests of engaging communities in their own villages and homes, more and more women have begun to rise up and become educated in all things related to coffee. In turn, there has been significant increase in the amount of women who are actively engaged and showing up to meetings, cupping and trainings at both Jhai Coffee House and in their villages.
Additionally, there has been a welcomed increase in the amount of women who have their names on parchment in the warehouse, therefore becoming recognized producers at the end of the season.