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Article

8 Dec 2017

Author:
Sarah Roberts, Ethical Tea Partnership, Business and Human Rights Journal

Commentary: Malawi: Education & leadership opportunities are key to promoting rights of women tea farmers

"Women's Rights: Bridging the Gap in Malawi", 6 Dec 2017

… Approximately 65% of smallholder tea farmers [in Malawi] are women, with the scale tipped in favour of landownership by women due to the matrilineal inheritance system in the tea growing regions… While one might assume that landownership would lead to improved status in society, the reality is far more complex.

Gender equality is central to achieving the objectives of Malawi Tea 2020. Malawi Tea 2020 is a coalition of stakeholders from across the entire tea value chain which aims to create a competitive Malawian tea industry where workers earn a living wage and smallholders are thriving...

…The percentage of male and female workers on tea estates is closer to a 50-50 split, but management positions are predominantly held by men...[T]here is still a large gap to fill between the representation of men and women in senior management roles…

…Until equality of education is reached, both government and the private sector will struggle to fill senior roles with women. If girls don’t complete higher level education, it is almost impossible for them to achieve equal levels in employment…There are specific interventions…that can help address this disparity…[such as]…peer-to-peer learning program…and Village Savings and Loan groups…

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