Banana farming has traditionally been a male-dominated activity, particularly in the Dominican Republic, with cultural attitudes considering it an inappropriate activity for women and certain tasks considered not suitable to be undertaken by women.
It is estimated that women make up 13% of Fairtrade banana farmers and workers on plantations. By raising awareness of issues such as sexual harassment and gender discrimination, there are significantly more workers on Fairtrade plantations than non-Fairtrade plantations with access to policies to support addressing these challenges.
At Lidl GB, we have partnered with our key banana supplier Fyffes, to launch HERessentials, a new digital gender programme created by BSR’s HERProject. The programme was identified in response to the findings of Fyffes’ company-wide Human Rights Impact Assessment in 2020. Following discussions with Lidl, it was agreed to collaborate on this aspect of the action plan and help bring the programme to scale across Latin America.
The aim of the training programme is to empower women to develop the skills and confidence needed to improve their own health, financial security and protection from violence, both within the workplace and within their family and community. The training will outline barriers and opportunities for both genders through peer-to-peer learning, work to improve communication channels between workers and management, as well as encourage workers to become active decision makers and leaders.
The digital format of HERessentials will enable the project to reach more workers and aims to become a self-sustaining training across Latin America in due course. The programme launches in Costa Rica in May 2021.
Together, Lidl GB and Fyffes have agreed a range of gender-sensitive KPIs to monitor the implementation and success of HERessentials. These include monitoring economic status of workers, number of women in management positions and grievances reported and remediated. Together we aim to reach over 10,000 workers in our joint supply chain by 2025.