Equal Access to Quality Jobs for Women and Girls in Agriculture (EQUAL) in Colombia

Project Duration
December 2019
November 2023
Funding and Year

EQUAL/Colombia aims to reduce the risk of child labor, forced labor, and other violations of labor rights by empowering vulnerable women and girls working in the production of unrefined brown sugar (panela) and the cut flowers sector and promoting a better understanding of labor rights.

The Problem

In Colombia, women and girls ages 15-17 working in agriculture often lack knowledge of their labor rights and are vulnerable to unacceptable conditions of work. In the unrefined brown sugar (panela) sector, which generates the most employment in Colombian agriculture after coffee, girls are vulnerable to child labor, including work in hazardous conditions, and women and girls may work unpaid on family farms. In the cut flowers sector, women comprise 65 percent of the labor force and often work long hours and are exposed to occupational safety and health risks. In both sectors, women and girls are vulnerable to gender discrimination, gender-based violence, and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Our Strategy

EQUAL/Colombia will empower women, girls, and their families and communities by providing them with a better understanding of labor rights and improved access to labor and social protections. The project will partner with the Colombian government, the National Business Association (ANDI), and civil society organizations to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to labor violations in the cut flower and panela sectors. It will also increase job training and economic opportunities for more than 2,000 women and girls.

EQUAL/Colombia will place women, girls, communities, and other project participants at the core of project activities by ensuring that their needs and expectations informed the design and implementation of project activities and therefore increase local ownership and impact of the project.
EQUAL/Colombia will implement activities in the Departments of Antioquia and Cundinamarca. 


(as of March 2021)

The following results reflect early activities during the project’s start-up phase, which are important for laying the foundation for future success. Please check back later for more results as the project advances further in its implementation.

  • The project has conducted research to better understand the working conditions of girls and women engaged in the cut flower and panela value chains in the targeted municipalities. This research helps ground the project’s strategy in the realities of the target communities.
  • The project partnered with the National Association of Female Flower Workers, the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, and World Bicycle Relief to provide bicycles to 100 women workers to improve their transportation options during the COVID-19 pandemic, as safe public transportation was limited.

Learn About Our Success


In Colombia, women working in agriculture often face hazardous conditions, long hours, gender discrimination, and even gender-based violence or sexual harassment. Maria Yaneth Cuervo Marín (Yaneth) knew this wasn’t going to be her story. 

Implementing Partners:
Escuela Nacional Sindical (ENS)
Contact Information:
GlobalKids@ILAB.dol.gov / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Sugar Cane
Supply Chains
Women’s Empowerment
Worker Voice