Empowering rural women through co-operatives

29 Mar 2018

A side event at the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York focused on the role of co-operatives in rural women empowerment. Organised by the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations, the event took place on 16 March.

Themed Cooperatives and other best practices for the economic empowerment of rural women and girls, the discussion was in line with the priority theme of the 62nd CSW, the empowerment of rural women and girls.

Panellists shared case studies from the Dominican Republic on economic empowerment for rural women, including projects on the production of rabbit meat and mango; increased financing for co-operatives by the government; democratisation of credit; and the facilitation of free financial education.

Also speaking at the event was Alette van Leur, Director of the Sectoral Policies Department (SECTOR) and coordinator of the ILO policy outcome area on “decent work in the rural economy”. She reflected on the role of co-operatives in rural women empowerment: creating jobs and increasing income for women workers; improving livelihoods through the provision of basic services; and boosting women’s leadership and management experiences.

The ILO also suggested ways to increase rural women’s participation and empowerment through co-operatives, such as ensuring co-operative legislation to become more gender-responsive, increasing public support for rural women in co-operatives, promoting products from rural women’s co-operatives through public procurement or solidarity labels and increasing awareness among co-operative leaders and members on the importance of equitable gender relations.

A representative from the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic also recently participated in a side event to the 56th Commission for Social Development organised by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) on the contributions of co-operatives to poverty eradication.