During the workshop organized by Cooperatives Europe and Alleanza Cooperative Italiane, cooperators from all sectors and policymakers came together to discuss the gendered impact of the pandemic, and how the recovery process needs to contribute to the fight for gender equality.
At the presence of Helene Fritzon (Member of the European Parliament) and Patrick Klein (Policy Officer at the European Commission), Jean-Louis Bancel, President of Cooperatives Europe, opened the seminar by highlighting that gender equality is part of the cooperative identity and that many cooperatives and their federations are leading in creating workplaces that offer the same opportunities regardless of gender.
CECOP Secretary General Diana Dovgan addressed the unequal impact of the pandemic on men and women: the majority of frontline workers are female, yet women are more likely to lose their jobs as the economy came to a standstill. The pandemic, therefore, was a step backward in the fight for gender equality.
However, worker cooperatives in Spain and Italy show that they often offer better opportunities for women, with higher shares of their workforce and managerial staff being women, compared to conventional enterprises.
During the webinar, several ways forward have been proposed by participants. From reinforcing dedicated networks for women, to digital skill development and programmes to support women entrepreneurship are concrete steps to build a gender-inclusive post-pandemic economy.