Chocolate is lady-crack, if advertisements are to be believed. But the women who grow the cocoa that feeds the masses are not having similar mouth orgasms; instead, they're paid much less than their male colleagues and face discrimination in the workplace, in addition to hunger and poverty.
Oxfam has a new investigation of cocoa supply chains in 4 countries showing how horribly the women who grow cocoa used by companies like Mars, Mondelez and Nestle — which control more than 40% of the global chocolate market, purchase nearly one third of the world's cocoa and net more than $45 billion a year in confectionery sales —are treated.
The brief includes stories from women like Agnes Gabriel, a 37-year-old migrant worker living in Ayetoro-Ijesa, Nigeria, who gets paid $3 a day for her work on a cocoa farm while her male counterparts make more than twice that amount, and Arti, a laborer at a cocoa exporting factory in Makassar, Indonesia who says she is made to work without a contract and is called an "animal" by her supervisor. Then there's the processing factory where all the female workers were laid off after a few demanded equal treatment and pay.
The "comfort food" industry is booming, and these companies could improve conditions for women if they cared, but Oxfarm's research shows they don't. At the very least, this report is an excellent way to justify spending too much money on that fair trade ethically-sourced chocolate from the obnoxious guy at your farmer's market.