Last Friday, February 11, during the 60th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD60), the WFO Member Organisation Indian Co-operative Network for Women (ICNW) hosted the virtual side event “Women cooperative warriors combat COVID-19 with sustainable gender and equity strategies: Iconic case of Working Women’s Forum (India) and the Indian Cooperative Network for Women”.

Moderated by Dr Nandini Azad, President at the Indian Cooperative Network for Women (ICNW) and active member of the WFO Working Groups on Cooperatives and Women, the side event gathered, among others, prominent representatives of stakeholders committed to cooperative development and gender equity strategies.

The discussion aimed to highlight the crucial role of women’s cooperatives for inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 that leaves no one behind.

The World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), represented by Secretary General Arianna Giuliodori and the Head of Policy Development Luisa Volpe, participated and contributed to the discussion.
They highlighted how women are crucial actors in achieving the SDGs and agricultural cooperatives, the precondition to the empowerment of rural women.

Women are crucial actors in achieving the SDGs and agricultural cooperatives, the precondition to rural women’s empowerment

In WFO vision, women play a fundamental role, being resilient by nature, capable of taking care, creating and curating relationships and connections at the family and community levels. Women farmers worldwide take care of the land, local traditions, biodiversity, their families and communities, with enormous responsibilities that, unfortunately, especially in some areas of the world, still struggle to be recognised and face enormous barriers.

In this context, agricultural cooperatives play a crucial role in empowering rural women economically and socially, ensuring them easier access to markets, services, resources, education, creating jobs and more inclusive and sustainable business models, thus contributing to rural areas’ social and economic development.

That is why women empowerment is one of the main pillars of the WFO advocacy and policy work and should be mainstreamed in all policy processes.