Intersektionaalinen lähestymistapa

Intersectional inequalities – the case of coffee

Hanken School of Economics researchers working on the topic of responsible organizing wrote a book together. The book Transformative Action for Sustainable Outcomes: Responsible Organising (2022, edited by Maria Sandberg and Janne Tienari) explores how different actors can responsibly organise for transformative action towards sustainable outcomes, as expressed in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The introduction of the book can be downloaded from here: Routledge 2022.

I wrote a chapter on intersectional inequalities (and coffee!) together with another PhD researcher, Neema Komba. In the chapter, we discuss inequalities experienced by women working on their husbands’ coffee farms in Tanzania. You can read the whole chapter here: Intersectional inequalities and how to fight them.

Coffee production in Tanzania

Coffee is a significant export product for Tanzania, generating five per cent of its total export earnings. Smallholder farms produce nearly 90 per cent of the coffee. This means that coffee is a crucial income for many families and helps in achieving various SDGs. For instance, coffee is an important source of income for farmers to pay their children’s school fees.

However, women hold a weak position in coffee production. Although women have traditionally worked alongside men in coffee production, they have not gained the profits. One of the main reasons for this is the tradition of patrilinear inheritance, which was enhanced by colonialism; when coffee production was introduced during the colonial era, only men were given coffee seeds to plant.

Some of the married women have ended up ”stealing” coffee from their husbands and selling it unofficially, with a lower price. This illustrates how the intersection of gender, marital status, and social class creates exploitation of women in coffee production.

Intersections need to be considered carefully

We argue that the relevant intersections that need to be considered in analysing inequalities are always context specific. One should be particularly cautious when applying intersectional theory in the Global South since most research that uses the term intersectionality is American- and European-focused. The range of meaningful social categorizations might differ in the Global South. For instance, in the case of coffee production in Tanzania, we consider the intersection of gender, marital status and class. Also, we discussed colonial histories as part of the histography of coffee production.

Corporate social responsibility, social inequalities and nonhuman worlds

The book is organised under three themes:

  • Responsibility in a changing world
  • Challenging inequalities
  • Engaging with the nonhuman world

Each theme consists of different Hanken researchers writings on the topics. See the content and read the introduction from here: Routledge 2022.