As part of The United Nations International Year of Co-operatives, Co-operatives UK has today launched a brand new website to give women from across the co-operative movement a place to collaborate, network and develop responses to 2020 Co-operatives Womens Challenge.
The first phase of the website - ‘2020 Co-operative Womens Challenge’ - has been developed by a group of women from across the co-operative movement and facilitated by Co-operatives UK.
The new online communication portal, from the national trade association for co-operatives, has been designed to give women a place to share information, ideas and network bringing together all of those interested in the 2020 Co-operative Womens Challenge. The site will be developed further based on the inputs and ideas from women across the movement.
The new ‘2020 Co-operative Womens Challenge’ website will also include:
• An ‘Inspirational Women’ section showcasing strong, successful women throughout the co-operative movement’s history;
• Advice for women wishing to develop as employees or in elected roles within the co-operative movement;
• Events listings and latest news stories;
• Networking group pages;
• Links to other specialist co-operative businesses.
Co-operative researcher, Dr Rachael Vorberg-Rugh, said: “Women have been at the heart of the co-operative movement for generations - as members, as customers, and as leaders.
“I see the Womens Challenge 2020 as standing on the shoulders of earlier generations of co-operative women, and continuing their important work. I hope that in 2020 we see an even greater commitment to ensure that co-operative committees and management teams reflect the diversity of UK society, and that the co-operative movement takes a leading role in campaigning for women's economic and social inclusion in all countries and communities.”
Commenting on the launch of the new website, Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “Over half the UK’s population is female and six out of every ten university graduates are women, plus women are 46% of the economically active workforce. Yet they are still under-represented in British businesses, especially when it comes to senior management.
“Our new website has been developed by our members to help support women and give a focal point for sharing information and networking helping to put women at the heart of the co-operative movement.”
The Co-operative Womens Challenge 2020 was launched at the Women’s Voices conference that took place in Leeds (July 2011), to address the under-representation of women in the movement.
Worldwide research has shown that gender balance improves business performance. Inclusive and diverse boards are more effective and better at controlling risk. Working together men and women contribute fresher perspectives, more vigorous challenges and broader experience to ensure business success. This is even more important for organisations that are democratically owned and run by their members.
From its earliest days, the co-operative movement has led the way in campaigning for women’s equality. The Co-operative Womens Challenge will continue this work, aiming over the next eight years to ensure that women are fairly represented at all levels within co-operative businesses
The new ‘2020 Co-operative Womens Challenge’ website launches as part of the International Year of Co-operatives 2012 - a unique opportunity for co-operative businesses and their members and supporters to come together as a global movement to promote how co-operatives build a better world.