Non-traditional agricultural export industries: Conditions for women workers in Colombia and Peru

Publication Date: 

March 1, 2008


Gender & Development, Volume 16 Issue 1


Nora Ferm

Women comprise the majority of the workforce in many non-traditional agricultural export (NTAE) industries, which international lending and aid agencies espouse as a development solution for rural poor people. In the Peruvian asparagus industry and the Colombian cut-flower plantations, however, women workers endure unsafe and substandard conditions. Local organisations creatively employ various strategies, ranging from legislative advocacy to direct services for workers, to promote women's rights in this sector, but their efficacy is limited by governments' failure to pass and enforce comprehensive labour laws, and judicial procedures that favour employers.