Cooperatives Europe adopts Gender Equality Charter

Cooperatives Europe encourages its members to adopt the charter’s commitments

The General Assembly of Cooperatives Europe unveiled a new Gender Equality Charter on 2 October to boost the movement’s efforts to close the gender gap.

Based on the work of Cooperatives Europe’s Gender Equality Working Group, the charter features 10 commitments for members and their organisations to make.

Cooperatives Europe says the charter re-affirms its support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and falls in line with the EU Gender Equality Strategy. These include collecting gender statistics; promoting a work-life balance; ensuring women are able to access top level positions; promoting awareness of gender equality among members; promoting a culture of equality at 360°; supporting women’s employment and co-operative entrepreneurship; fighting against any form of harassment and violence; sharing best practices; advocating at European level and and co-operating with the ICA and UN bodies to promote a more gender balanced world.

Cooperatives Europe’s Gender Equality Working Group includes members from 15 countries and two European sectoral organisations. Its main aim is to coordinate advocacy, research and knowledge sharing actions as well as ensure a united co-operative voice on gender equality issues at the European level.

Stefania Marcone, vice-president of Cooperatives Europe and chair of the Gender Equality Working Group, said: “Co-operatives, as people-centred businesses, are an important tool for women’s empowerment, their access to labour as well as their path to self-entrepreneurship, ensuring their voice being heard in the economy and the society.

“With a large number of women on the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the role of women is more important than ever for Europe to build back better.

“By adopting this charter, the European co-operative movement commits to make a difference for millions of women co-operators of today, and tomorrow, in Europe, and in the world.”