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Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through Fair Trade Social Enterprise: Case of Divine Chocolate and Kuapa Kokoo

Entrepreneurship and the Sustainable Development Goals

ISBN: 978-1-78756-376-6, eISBN: 978-1-78756-375-9

ISSN: 2040-7246

Publication date: 8 October 2018


Gender equality and women’s empowerment are considered core development objectives (SDG 5) and instrumental in achieving other SDGs such as economic growth and food security and improved health and education. Cocoa is seen as a ‘man’s crop’ and there is entrenched gender bias in its value chain. However, women play a crucial role in the tending and post-harvesting of cocoa which are key to the price paid. This chapter investigates, via a 20-year in-depth case study, the partnership between Fair Trade Social Enterprise Divine Chocolate Ltd and Kuapa Kokoo (KK) cocoa farmer’s cooperative in Ghana. The case takes an in-depth look at women’s role in the cocoa value chain and how their strategic interests, practical needs and power can be addressed.

The Divine–Kuapa Kooko partnership, which implemented a clear resourced gender equality strategy, has made a positive contribution to reducing inequality, empowering women cocoa farmers and improving their rights. Setting quotas for women’s representation at all levels of KK’s structure has improved the strategic interests of women cocoa farmers and transformed the political structures of the cooperative. Also setting gender equality as part of the KK’s constitution enhances the empowerment and power of women cocoa farmers. Providing equal access to training and resources also enhances the practical capabilities of women.

The chapter proposes a framework of how to achieve improvements in gender quality and women’s empowerment. This case will assist other organisations who have targeted Sustainable Development Goal 5 of gender equality and women’s empowerment as part of their strategy.




The author would like to thank the team at Divine and Kuapa Kokoo particularly Sophi Tranchell (CEO of Divine), who has made women’s empowerment in the cocoa sector a top priority ever since she became the first CEO of Divine Chocolate in 1999.


Doherty, B. (2018), "Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through Fair Trade Social Enterprise: Case of Divine Chocolate and Kuapa Kokoo", Entrepreneurship and the Sustainable Development Goals (Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Vol. 8), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 151-163.



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