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The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HERO) Made possible in part through funding form the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

How Shea Nut Collectives Are Empowering African Women

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The vast majority of shea nut producers are women. But most don’t reap the benefits.

A lot of shea butter, which can be found in moisturizers and chocolate, originates from West and East Africa. According to the Global Shea Alliance, shea exports from African countries increased about 600 percent in the first two decades of this century.

Most shea nut collectors are rural women. So this should be great news for them. But because of the way the shea nut supply chain operates, most women are at the bottom of the power structure, oftentimes squeezed out by middlemen.

On this episode of The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HERO), reporter Nelly Kalu visits a Nigerian nonprofit called Initiative for Gender Empowerment and Creativity. The initiative has innovated the shea nut business to enable women to earn more as shea nut producers.

Then host Reena Ninan speaks with Sybil Chidiac, a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Chidiac focuses on women’s economic empowerment initiatives in Africa and shares her thoughts on this program and others to Ninan. (For transparency, HERO is funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.)

About The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HERO):  Could empowering women in the workplace be the simplest way to boost the global economy? Host Reena Ninan talks to women around the world changing the status quo in surprising ways to improve their lives, their families, and ultimately, the world. The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HER♀) is a Foreign Policy podcast supported in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. HER listeners can learn more about these topics by signing up for special access to an FP Analytics policy brief on gender equality. Sign up by clicking here.  See All Episodes

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More The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HERO) episodes:

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It’s technically legal for Congolese couples to co-own land. But in practice, that’s not often the case.

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The country passed an act in 2021 aiming to increase access to child care. But implementing the law has its own challenges.

Protecting Migrant Domestic Workers

Migrant workers make up nearly 20 percent of all domestic workers. And in Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, the number is much higher.

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A Russian flag at the Embassy of Russia is seen through a bus stop post in Washington, DC on April 15, 2021. - The US announced sanctions against Russia on April 15, 2021, and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity. President Joe Biden ordered a widening of restrictions on US banks trading in Russian government debt, expelled 10 diplomats who include alleged spies, and sanctioned 32 individuals alleged to have tried to meddle in the 2020 presidential election, the White House said. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A Russian flag at the Embassy of Russia is seen through a bus stop post in Washington, DC on April 15, 2021. - The US announced sanctions against Russia on April 15, 2021, and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity. President Joe Biden ordered a widening of restrictions on US banks trading in Russian government debt, expelled 10 diplomats who include alleged spies, and sanctioned 32 individuals alleged to have tried to meddle in the 2020 presidential election, the White House said. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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