At the U.N. Economic and Social Council High Level Segment Session 2022, which took place in mid July, IRU Board Member and President of the Working Women’s Forum and the IRU member organisation Indian Cooperative Network for Women Dr Nandini Azad highlighted the resilience especially women cooperatives are showing in India during the pandemic. In fact, they are a true pillar to counteract the impact of the COVID19-Pandemic Dr Azad said during the session which treated the thematic area “Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
While recognising that challenges cannot deter cooperatives from adapting resilience, Nandini Azad continued to emphasise that women cooperators did not shut down businesses or abandon employees despite facing serious loss of sales and revenue. Indeed, the majority of women cooperatives is able to reboost businesses through savings or reserve funds the groups have implemented well before or during the pandemic.
Since the 1980ies, WWF and ICNW provide small loans to poor women entrepreneur members. They utilised indigenous coping strategies as unorganised workers and participated in digital literacy training. Based on the experiences collected by her, WWF and ICNW, Nandini Azad gave clear recommendations during the high level session at the UN Council. “Women must be at the centre of decision making at all levels of cooperatives and voice their needs and opinions at various forums. Women must have power to decide the future and of fellow cooperative members”, she hightlighted in particular.