ICA Gender Equality Committee highlights the role of cooperatives in achieving gender equality

08 Mar 2022

To mark International Women’s Day the ICA’s Gender Equality Committee (GEC) has published a statement in which it points out the interconnectedness between women’s rights, gender equality and climate justice.

Observed every year on 8 March, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is ‘Break the bias’.

The statement reads: “It is high time that a sustainable future should be built beyond gender equality, but rather focus on gender equity! A sustainable tomorrow is much broader than climate change and requires an understanding of complex environmental, social and economic drivers. Cooperatives, as people-centred economic models – through their values of self-help, equality and equity, and principles of voluntary and open membership and democratic control – are well-placed to address many of the issues that negatively impact women, especially to address the multifaceted issue of poverty and shape women’s wellbeing.”

Cooperatives play a key role in promoting gender equality, adds the GEC. “By increasing women’s access to resources and economic opportunities; by empowering them not only economically but also individually and socially to challenge the social and cultural norms; by creating an enabling environment for them to use those opportunities and assets to achieve equal outcomes to men,” reads the statement.

The GEC also reiterated the cooperative movement’s commitment to positive peace and the cooperative values of democracy, equality, solidarity, participation and concern for the community.

“The ICA GEC joins the voices of those calling for peace and diplomatic solutions to prevent the further suffering of millions of innocent people, especially of women and girls in Eastern Europe affected by the conflict in Ukraine,” adds the statement.

ICA GEC Chair, Maria Eugenia Pérez Zea, said: “As values-based enterprises, cooperatives are by nature promoters of gender equality. At times of crisis and uncertainty, cooperatives continue to care for their communities and provide much-needed products and services while making positive changes.”

Read the full text here.