International Women's Day advocate Amelia Franklin

Amelia Franklin, a change agent in the global coffee industry with a passion for gender equality, has been awarded a scholarship to do a Global Executive MBA program through the University of Sydney

Amelia Franklin, a change agent in the global coffee industry with a passion for gender equality, has been awarded a scholarship to do a Global Executive MBA program through the University of Sydney

The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter, with the message that the better the balance, the better the world.

It's a call to action for gender equality, something that Bellingen business woman, coffee supply chain innovator and social change agent Amelia Franklin is passionate about.

In fact, she's just been recognised as an 'inspiring' woman by UN Women National Committee Australia, who have awarded her a $60,000 scholarship to study an MBA.

"The course is perfect for where I'm at," Amelia said. "It's a global perspective MBA, so everything is international development and climate change related, so it ties into my interests and the work I'm doing in coffee."

Amelia is president of the Australian chapter of the International Women's Coffee Alliance, and she's been advocating for women in coffee since she started her commercial roastery here in 2006.

The global industry employs many women in the field, often under grossly unfair conditions, but the decision-makers are predominantly men.

"It's so stark, it's like a different reality," she said. "I'm having conversations with men to start advocating for women within the industry. Women do 70 per cent of all the labour but they only own 10 per cent of the infrastructure or land."

In some countries, women's wages are paid directly to their husbands, and job-related prostitution and slavery in agricultural supply chains are rife, Amelia said.

"That's why I think coming together [for International Women's Day] is really important. In Australia, we've got a lot of privileges that the majority of the world's women don't have.

"You can get caught in taking International Women's Day and the history of the women's rights movement for granted and assume that it's finished but for the vast majority of women globally, they're still at the beginning."

Amelia also sees trouble ahead for the coffee industry caused by poverty and climate change.

“Through our distributed project called BeanLedger, I am now leading an effort to disrupt the traditional coffee industry, which allocates nothing to research and development,” she said.

"Using distributed ledger technology, we are able to track coffee from ‘seed to cup’, in a way that provides sustainable livelihoods for primary producers while mitigating climate change impacts.”

The Global Executive MBA program involves residential study blocks in Australia, England, India, Israel and the United States and working on a change initiative to address a significant issue.