April 1st 2020 ・ 10 min reading
On 8 March, International Women’s Day, iconic global banana brand Chiquita is highlighting its commitment to meeting the challenges of gender equality in the banana farms of Latin America.
Banana plantations can be not only remote but also traditionally male-dominated, and involve a highly physical line of work, which can make women vulnerable to violence, discrimination and intimidation. Chiquita has embraced the important challenge of promoting women’s rights and women’s empowerment, and has developed guidelines, codes of conduct and tools to ensure incidents are eliminated as far as possible and that zero tolerance is shown to such acts.
A 2001 IUF-Colsiba-Chiquita agreement on workers’ rights was strengthened in 2013 to specifically protect women’s rights, particularly their employment opportunities. The agreement annex provides an effective additional safeguard to Chiquita’s Collective Labor Agreement in Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and now Guatemala, where it is currently being implemented.
The agreement is also the basis for an information and awareness campaign to advance women’s technical skills, rights, and health and safety, and is regularly reviewed by a dedicated committee to assess the application of the agreement.
While Chiquita accepts that women remain under-represented across all tiers of its organization, the company is working hard to increase women’s participation, as exemplified by these 4 Chiquita women employees Mayra, Faustina, Elizabeth and Nives.
Mother of four, Mayra Noelia Pereira, was the first woman to operate mobile cranes in the Puerto Barrios Railroad Port Terminal, inspiring other women to become port operatives.
Agronomy graduate, Faustina Madrid, has worked her way up to the post of Farm Administrator with Chiquita, gaining new knowledge and abilities in the process.
Nives de Luca has worked with Chiquita since 2003 in several key posts. She is currently Port Manager in Oxnard, California, a vital outlet that supplies the West Coast of the US.
Elizabeth Vargas Hidalgo began her career with Chiquita as a farm worker and is now a supervisor at the packing plant, helping her farm to achieve great results.
Chiquita’s commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality does not stop at the farms in the tropical areas. The brand of the world-famous Miss Chiquita is also a strong supporter of the fight against breast cancer, the second most common cancer in women worldwide, representing about 25% of all cancer cases in women.
Chiquita’s Pink Sticker campaign supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign organized by breast cancer charities each October. Each year since 2017, during the month of October, the color of the company’s iconic Blue Sticker (which represents their commitment to sustainability) changes to pink to help raise global awareness of breast cancer. Chiquita also partners every year with various associations like Pink Ribbon, American Cancer Society, and Girls vs Cancer in its efforts to undertake research and support patients, survivors and caregivers of breast cancer.