In the world, around 1,217 million people work in a total of three million cooperatives, representing 12% of the global population. In addition, cooperatives provide employment for 10% of the workforce. Meanwhile, in Europe there are around 180,000 cooperative companies with more than 140 million members, which translates into 17% of the European population, according to the latest data from the International Cooperative Alliance. According to the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, in 2019 18,635 cooperatives were registered in Spain.
There are various countries in which women represent a large percentage in cooperatives. According to the latest data, 51% of the associates of the Spanish Confederation of Associated Work Cooperatives (Coceta). The change in recent years has been very significant, as the representation of women in the social economy has gone from 38% to 62% in less than a decade.
Historically, the goal of cooperatives has been to create a people-centered business model, as well as being run democratically by all their members. The companies that make up the corporate fabric are companies based on values that prioritize justice and equality, which is why cooperativism in its origins rejects any discrimination based on sex. This is already reflected in the 1966 declaration of the International Cooperative Alliance urging the adoption of actions that ensure equality between women and men.
The female presence in the Spanish social economy has gone from 38% to 62% in less than 10 years
Among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, Goal 5 stands out: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Among the goals of this goal are “to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls around the world” and “to ensure the full and effective participation of women and equal leadership opportunities for all decision-making levels in political, economic and public life ”. Cooperativism due to its democratic and egalitarian values is fully committed to the SDGs.
In recent years, numerous gender consultants have appeared in the business market, which help and promote the implementation of Equality Plans in the business sector, public administrations, Third Sector entities and educational institutions. For this reason, the information of two cooperatives associated with Ucomur that work for the implementation of these plans is included.
Ucomur, unconditional support for equality
Despite the fact that equality is a fundamental part of the cooperative fabric, Ucomur is aware that in associated work cooperatives there is still much to do, for this reason Ucomur has developed a guide for the Preparation of equality measures in associated cooperatives. This guide aims to «provide all cooperatives with a tool that allows them to develop and execute equality plans and that they can incorporate the gender perspective as a cross-cutting element in the life of the company for all their cooperatives and / or workers. ».
This guide is not only aimed at large cooperative companies (Royal Decree Law 6/2019 establishes mandatory for companies with more than 250 workers), but “contains adapted procedures for the preparation, approval, implementation and monitoring of equality plans, for those small and medium-sized cooperatives that do not have great material or personal resources ”.
Consultants specialized in gender and guides for the elaboration and implementation of equality plans are increasingly necessary in a cooperative panorama in which women have a great role: «There are highly feminized sectors, such as education and education. social services. Women find great opportunities for self-management in the cooperative. She is a partner and a worker and can set work rules in her own company, which allows her, for example, to reconcile, ”explains Juan Antonio Pedreño, president of Ucomur.