Rupert’s Honey philosophy has always aimed at helping the poorest of the poor. This is often single mothers whose children not only need her care and attention but also the ability to feed and raise them. Whilst we do not specifically offer places to women over men, the opportunity for women to be beekeepers or factory workers within a development project is always considered.
Tim and Crispin Jackson designed the Jackson Horizontal Hive (JHH) to be an easy to use, light weight hive in both its application as a beehive, as well as in its management practices of the colony manipulation, which modern beekeeping requires. Most modern beehive designs with movable frames use a specific chamber with frames for the bees to store their honey. These boxes weigh approximately 9kg when full of honey and are therefore relatively heavy to carry. The use of these “conventional” hives makes the removal of honey fast, but the physical work heavy and difficult. The JHH design uses individual frames which are larger than a conventional honey frame, weighing approximately 2,5kg when full of honey. This fact, coupled to the JHH having a horizontal alignment which means the JHH can be suspended at an ergonomic height, saving potential back pain in heavy lifting. The extended handles and even weight distribution makes the JHH easy to carry too. The JHH is therefore perfect for women to maintain, as well as men.
With the rural development of beekeeping, apiary sites are often positioned away from main transport routes and set alongside small ill-defined foot paths. Carrying heavy supers of honey has been a deterrent to beekeeping for a lot of people. The elongated shape of the JHH means that frames are removed from a hive and placed in an empty hive to be carried. The purpose built handles allows two people to carry frames of honey very easily without fatigue as opposed to square heavy supers which one person has to carry on their own.
Aiding women to become beekeepers has a number of advantages to the goals of a project whereby mothers and females within villages tend to be more static and unlikely to take money earned within a rural setting to seek employment in cities, which often happens with male participants. Women also display a tendency to use economic stability with more care and attention than their male counterparts. Lastly, women tend to use funds on a family’s needs, spreading the increased economic freedom between many people for their benefit, whilst male counterparts often use it for their own immediate benefit.
Creating gender equality has many and profound effects on societies. Rupert’s Honey has an ethos to help promote gender equality wherever possible.