Equality for Women is Progress for All

What would happen if women in the agricultural sector had equal access to the financing, training and technology available to their male counterparts? These women would produce 20 to 30 percent more food, and their families would benefit from improved health, education and nutrition. Moreover, food production in developing countries would rise by 2.5 to 4 percent–sufficient growth to eliminate hunger for up to 150 million people.

Here at the Rainforest Alliance, we are committed to better engaging women across our agriculture, forestry, tourism, climate and education programs. Today, more than 100,000 full-time workers on Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms are women, as well many of our field trainers and a significant proportion of our senior leadership.

Join us as we explore the achievements of six women working with the Rainforest Alliance.

Andi Mustika

Andi Mustika, a graduate of Hasanuddin University and a researcher for the Indonesia Ministry of Forestry, is one of several students who have participated in the Rainforest Alliance’s field research and training program in Bantaeng, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Mustika says, “During my participation in the Rainforest Alliance field study, we all shared the same important roles as we navigated the learning process and gained experience together.” The Rainforest Alliance is careful to provide female students with the logistical support they need to get equal time in the field.

Photo credit: William Crosse


Sarah Hurtado

Sarah Hurtado is a single mother and an entrepreneur. She has a 3,000-acre Brazil nut concession in Peru’s Madre de Dios region and uses nuts from it to make cookies and other products. The Brazil nut is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly foods and grows wild in the Amazon rainforest where macaws, monkeys and thousands of other species thrive. The Rainforest Alliance has helped hundreds of Brazil nut gatherers, including Hurtado, to improve their forest stewardship, working conditions and incomes.

Photo credit: David Dudenhoefer


Mojisola Enitan Oluyeye

Mojisola Enitan Oluyeye is a lead trainer in Nigeria working to introduce sustainable farming to cocoa communities across West Africa. Oluyeye is passionate about engaging women in sustainable agriculture and believes that Nigerian women often feel more at ease learning from other women. She says, “The more women I am able to bring into sustainable production, the more likely I am able to contribute to taking households out of poverty and food insecurity.”

Photo credit: Christian Mensah


Phung Thi Huu

Phung Thi Huu is a lead farmer working with the Rainforest Alliance in Vietnam. She educates coffee farmers in her community about sustainable techniques for improving yields, improving incomes, and fighting pests and crop disease.


Ruth Mayrena Morales Puga

Ruth Mayrena Morales Puga is a teacher in the indigenous community of Paso Caballos, Guatemala. She has worked with the Rainforest Alliance’s education team for nearly seven years, participating in workshops on conservation curricula and implementing innovative strategies to engage kids in local environmental issues. Morales Puga says, “[Girls] were leaving school at a young age, not reaching sixth grade. Now they are participating in environmental education activities and taking care of our natural resources. We have changed attitudes [about gender] for the better in the community.”


Giovanna Holbrook

As the cofounder of Selva Verde Lodge, an eco-friendly hotel in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica, Giovanna Holbrook has played an important role in supporting local women. She established a simple yet critical rule that has allowed her female employees more control over their finances: she requires that all staff members retrieve their own paychecks. This measure prevents husbands from collecting their wives’ earnings and allows women more financial freedom.

Photo credit: holbrooktravel.com


People Women
People collecting dirty river water

Around the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day.