Role of cooperatives in rural women empowerment discussed during a side event at CSW62 in NY with ILO participating for COPAC

The Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations organized a side event at the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York focusing on the role of cooperatives in rural women empowerment.

News | 26 March 2018
Alette Van Leur, Director, Sectoral Policies Department (SECTOR), International Labour Organization
The side event on 16 March 2018 focused on the theme “Cooperatives and other best practices for the economic empowerment of rural women and girls” in line with the priority theme of the 62nd CSW, empowerment of rural women and girls. Recently a representative from the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic participated in the side event to the 56th Commission for Social Development organized by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) on the cooperatives’ contributions to poverty eradication.

From the ILO, Alette van Leur, Director of the Sectoral Policies Department (SECTOR) and the coordinator of the ILO policy outcome area on “decent work in the rural economy” was invited to present the ILO’s work on cooperative development particularly in the rural economy. Other panelists at this side event included: Janet Camilo, Minister of Women of the Dominican Republic; Altagracia Suriel, Director General of the Progress with Solidarity Programme (PROSOLI) of the Dominican Republic; Juan Pumarol, Deputy Minister of the Presidency of the Dominican Republic; Reyna Amparo Peña Reyes, President of the Federation of Sharecropper Agrarian Reform Union; Dairy Castle Glove, President of the Dominican Federation of Rabbits Breeders and Processors. The panelists shared noteworthy initiatives in the Dominican Republic on economic empowerment for rural women, including projects on the production of rabbit meat and mango; increased financing for cooperatives by the government; democratization of credit; and the facilitation of free financial education.

The ILO’s presentation reflected on the role of cooperatives 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. It also discussed ways to increase rural women’s participation and empowerment through cooperatives including:
  • Ensuring cooperative legislation to become more gender-responsive;
  • Increasing public support for rural women in cooperatives while respecting their autonomy and independence;
  • Promoting products from rural women’s cooperatives for instance through public procurement programmes or solidarity labels; and
  • Increasing awareness among cooperative leaders and members on the importance of equitable gender relations.