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In Italy, 4 out of 10 women are at the helm of social cooperatives

7 December 2015 [ English ] français ]

The cooperative is among the types of company that has the highest number of women in senior positions in Italy: 23% versus 16% in other types of companies. The average of cooperatives managed by women has increased by 5% from 2008. Women at the helm are mainly social cooperatives, 4 out of 10. Remarkable also cooperatives running cultural and tourism activities, where cooperatives led by women are 1 out of 5, according to the conclusions from the event “Intertwine change: Commitment Action Scenarios” recently organised by the Commission women leader cooperators of the Italian Confederation of cooperatives, Confcooperative.

The number of women is also growing among the cooperatives’ members and employees. From 2005 to 2014 women members have gone from 37 to 41%. Even more impressive, is the presence among employees where, during the same period, women have increase from 57 to 61%.

The social sector is the first one also in terms of women participation: they represent 65% of total membership, compared to 55% of consumer cooperative and 46% of health cooperatives. As far as female employees are concerned, they are just under two-thirds (72.5%) of the entire workforce employed by social cooperatives.

Advancing gender equality: the cooperative way

According to the ICA-ILO Report “Advancing gender equality: the cooperative way” published this year, cooperatives are more effective in providing local development, community wealth, social inclusion, women’s empowerment, and gender equality.
In Europe and North America, interviewees reported achievements in gender equality particularly in social cooperatives and within the financial sector. The role of worker ,social cooperatives and producers’ cooperatives appears clearly when it comes to underlain how women benefit from the establishment of a cooperative: they gain access to jobs and self-employment.. Furthermore, some cooperatives specifically aim to employ women who are disadvantaged by factors such as poverty, gender-based violence and limited access to education and training. This extends inclusion to the most marginalized women.

Even in traditional sectors such as social care, cooperatives have emerged as a model where they fill the gaps between what communities need and what governments provide. Cooperatives provide a wide range of services, from day-care for children to home-care for the elderly in countries as wide ranging as Italy, Turkey and Japan, the reports says.