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Chiquita’s steps towards gender equality

While Chiquita is Spanish for very small, there is nothing small about the impact Chiquita has on the banana industry. A visit to the supermarket will quickly confirm that many of the bananas in supermarkets worldwide display the unmistakable, bright yellow and blue Chiquita sticker. 
Given their influence on the banana industry, it was particularly good to see Chiquita give an update on the activities of their Women’s Committee at the second conference of the World Banana Forum (WBF) in February. The Committee, formed in connection with the historic 2001 Labour Agreement between Chiquita, the Latin American Coordinator of Banana Unions (COLSIBA) and the International Union of Food Workers (IUF), is working to promote and reinforce a safe workplace for women and to support their personal and professional development. 

According to the Senior Communications Specialist at Chiquita, Irene Sandoval Arce, one of the three priorities of the Women’s Committee is to “develop a training programme for women to advance technical skills”, advocate for their rights, provide them with role models, and improve health and safety conditions. 
According to WBF’s research, conducted in thirteen countries worldwide, women working in the banana industry are the segment of the population that is most affected by discriminatory practices. Some of the major gender issues in the banana industry identified by WBF research include: sexual harassment; preferential hiring of men over women because of maternity leave and family responsibilities; age discrimination and For this reason, certain WBF participants from the public and private sectors are now working towards improving gender equity and working conditions for women in the banana industry. The working group on labour rights and other workplace issues set an important benchmark for gender discrimination in the banana  industry at this year’s WBF conference, when it hosted the first ever global meeting of women banana workers.

1. Introduction
2. Working Group 01: Sustainable Banana Production and Trade
3. Working Group 02: Distribution of Value 
4. Working Group 03: Labour Rights
5. Chiquita’s steps towards gender equality
6. Consumers are a key stakeholder
7. Small farmers show the way: mobilising all stakeholders

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