Leveraging the cooperative advantage for women's empowerment and gender equality

15 September, 2014 | ILO COOP | ILO

This brief is a part of the ILO COOP Cooperatives and the World of Work series.

This brief provides insights into questions such as: How can cooperative enterprises help promote gender equality? What are ways women can make use of the cooperative advantage to access opportunities that are otherwise denied to them?

The cooperative model offers women, particularly but not exclusively those in rural areas, in the informal economy and on low incomes, important opportunities for employment, enhanced livelihoods and access to productive resources and services. However, many remaining barriers still prevent women from enjoying all the benefi ts of the cooperative model. These barriers can be overcome if cooperatives and the international cooperative movement and its allies adopt the following measures:

  • Promote cooperative values and principles
  • Facilitate greater access for women to business advisory services, skills and management training, and fi nance to start up and strengthen their cooperative enterprises
  • Measure the nature and extent of women’s participation in cooperatives across all levels, particularly at senior levels, and make this information available
  • Place gender equality at the heart of cooperative contributions to sustainable developme

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