ILO sends message for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the ICA-AP Committee on Women

The event focused on the theme of Gender Equality for a Brighter Future. It was organized by the ICA-AP Committee on Women, as hosted by the Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU), September 19, 2023.

News | 19 September 2023
Held in a hybrid manner, the anniversary event brought together women cooperative leaders from Asia and the Pacific region countries. The event showcased significant moments and accomplishments realized over the last 25 years. On this occasion, a booklet was launched by the Committee, which highlights case studies of the work on gender equality within the cooperative movement in region. The event also served as a platform to reflect on how the Committee could steer its direction in the future and identify priority areas for action in the coming 25 years.

In her message the ILO COOP/SSE Manager Simel Esim noted that within the cooperative movement there is growing interest in gender issues and greater recognition of the value of women in leadership roles, and an increase in the number of cooperatives that are led by women. She highlighted how cooperatives can offer multiple benefits in providing affordable and accessible services for women in housing and finance and a range of care services. She suggested that women can advance their situation by negotiating with public authorities through their cooperatives. She also pointed out how democratic and participatory governance of cooperatives allows women the opportunity to engage in decision-making and power-sharing.

In mobilizing cooperatives to further gender equality, she noted two areas of focus emerging: the strengthened participation of women in cooperatives, including in leadership positions; and the development of cooperatives in undervalued economic sectors or professions with a stronger participation of women (for example, in the care economy). She highlighted participatory gender auditing and gender-responsive budgeting among methods that can be used by cooperatives. She suggested governments can support gender equality in cooperatives by providing capacity-building programmes for women, including in organizational leadership and management, financial planning and marketing.

An e-copy of the ICA-AP Women's Committee 25th anniversary booklet can be accessed here.