Women are driving coffee production forward around the world. We’re proud of the many women whose work makes this a reality at Union. This International Women’s Day I wanted to tell the stories of the women of Union…

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Did you know that women play an important role in coffee production? They do most of the work and are therefore directly responsible for the quality of the coffee. Their work often goes unrecognized and unpaid. On international women’s day we want to share with you how Union adresses gender equality.

When coffee was first introduced into England in the late 1600s, it was largely drunk by men and only men. In coffeehouses rather than at home. Doctors welcomed this as a substitute for drinking alcohol in taverns, but women were not so happy. In 1674 an unknown author put out “The Women’s Petition Against Coffee”.

English coffee houses in the 17th and 18th century were also called penny houses, referring to the entry fee of a penny. Coffee houses were public, social places where people would meet for conversation and commerce while drinking coffee.

Not all historians agree on whether women were or were not allowed to enter coffeehouses. Yet, conversation certainly revolved around male centered subjects such as politics, business and cultural criticism. These topics were not supposed to concern women. A coffee house was no place for a lady who wished to remain respectable!

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We’ve launched a limited parcel microlot coffee today to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The annual day, marked on the 8th March, celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. There is still a long way to go, both in the UK and worldwide, which is why this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange is calling for a gender inclusive world and encouraging people to make a ground-breaking action that drives the greatest change for women.

Our limited parcel microlot coffee in celebration of today, is called Carmen Sotara. It’s produced by women in Colombia who are members of AMPACS

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1st August 1838: Enslaved men, women and children in the British Empire finally became fully free after a period of forced apprenticeship following the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.

During the 17th, 18th and early 19th century slave labour produced the major consumer goods that were the basis of world trade; coffee, cotton, rum, sugar and tobacco.

Many people still think of slavery as a thing of the past, but it still exists in every sector, on every continent. It can take the form of forced prison labour, human trafficking through to debt bondage and compulsory over-time.

Shockingly, there are more people in slavery today than at any time previousy in human history.

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