ILO COOP participates in a Masterclass on gender equality and women’s empowerment in social economy

On January 21, 2021 ILO COOP participated in a virtual Masterclass on gender equality and women’s empowerment in social economy organized by the Diesis network.

Actualité | 26 janvier 2021
Diesis network is a European network supporting social economy and social enterprise development. The masterclass explored the contributions of cooperatives and wider social and solidarity economy organizations to SDG5.


The virtual session started with an introduction of two upcoming Diesis network projects associated with sexual harassment in the workplace and empowerment of migrant women through ICT skills. Following these introductions, a video with Malena Riudaverts Suarez, the Vice President of the Spanish Confederation of Cooperatives of Associated Work (COCETA), and a member of the Gender Equality Committee of the ICA (ICA-GEC), was featured. In this video Ms Suarez reflected on participation of women in cooperatives in Spain as members, workers and leaders. She also highlighted the need for education and equality plans to advance women’s participation across social economy and other enterprises. She noted that in the context of COVID19, care economy and the role women play in it became more visible.

Following the video, ILO’s Cooperatives Programme Manager Simel Esim reflected on how women benefit from their participation in cooperatives. Referring to studies conducted by the ILO on gender equality and women’s empowerment in cooperatives, she reflected on cooperatives with women-only membership, and sectoral differences with regard to women’s participation and gender equality measures with a specific focus on retail, agriculture, financial and social cooperatives. she also shared highlights of the work of the Committee on the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) on how cooperatives prioritized their contributions to the SDGs related to gender equality (SDG5), food security (SDG2) and decent work (SDG8).

Ms. Esim’s presentation was followed by a presentation from Lara Furieri, Head of Equal Opportunities and Coordinator of International Projects at Cadiai, an Italian social cooperative that provides social, health and educational services and provides worker safety and safety training services to companies in Bologna.

The session was followed by a discussion on key measures toward ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment in cooperatives especially in patriarchal contexts.