The Indian Cooperative Network for Women (ICNW), a longstanding member of the IRU – International Raiffeisen Union, hosted a significant event addressing the role of cooperatives in empowering women and combating violence against women and girls worldwide on February 8, 2024.
The virtual event, titled ‘Empowering for Equality: Women’s Crucial Role in Cooperatives as Catalysts for Transforming Social Inequity and Patriarchal Practices,’ was organized by ICNW in cooperation with the Working Women’s Forum (India) as a side event for the 62nd session of the Commission for Social Development at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Nandini Azad, President of the Working Women’s Forum and ICNW as well as an esteemed member of the IRU Board of Directors, stressed the significance of the event as a
Andreas Kappes, Secretary General of the International Raiffeisen Union, highlighted cooperatives’ role as a network for women to connect, engage in economic activities, build financial resilience, and enhance leadership skills. Mr Kappes stated that
His following illustration of two project examples from India and Paraguay underligned this message.
Other distinguished speakers at the event included Hirofumi Kobayashi, Executive Director of the Institute for the Development of Agricultural Cooperation in Asia and Japan, and Pieternel Boogaard, Head of FMO Agribusiness, Food, and Water, including Forestry, Netherlands. Xiomara Nunez De Cespedes, President of the Global Gender Equality Committee of the International Cooperative Alliance, Latin America, emphasized the meaningful contribution of cooperatives in fighting violence against women and girls. She highlighted the importance of education and awareness programs within cooperatives, focusing on preventing domestic and gender violence at work.
Additionally, the event witnessed the announcement of the H.S. Jaya Arunachalam Awards for Excellence, recognizing the achievements of nine women entrepreneurs from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
The IRU extends its congratulations to Nandini Azad for hosting this significant event, which underscores the pivotal role of cooperatives in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment globally.
The full speech of IRU Secretary General Andreas Kappes is available here: