IRU participates at UNCSW66 Event on Women Entrepreneurs Fight COVID19
On March 21st, the United Nation’s 66th edition of the Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW 66) virtual parallel event entitled “COVID–Heroines, Women Micro-Entrepreneurs Warriors Combat COVID19″ took place. The event was held under the priority theme was achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes and was hosted by the Working Women’s Forum and the IRU member organisation Indian Cooperative Network for Women (WWF – ICNW).
IRU Board Member and President of WWF & ICNW Dr. Nandini Azad guided through this special virtual meeting. In her opening statement Dr Azad highlighted that the “The U.N. has come to us, and it is time now for this movement to go international and to make people more aware” about the importance of women micro entrepreneurs and their grassroots movement. “The pandemic helped us hone our skills to strengthen the immunity of women. Our new lessons are all about building financial and social resilience and succeed within given constraints without lowering poor women’s standards,” she said.
IRU Secretary General and Head of the DGRV International Relations Department Mr Andreas Kappes was invited to hold a video speech at this special occasion. In his speech, Mr Kappes addressed the challenging situation women were facing worldwide even before the Pandemic. He emphasized that “across the globe, women earn less, save less, hold less secure jobs, are more likely to be employed in the informal sector. They have less access to social protections. They are the majority of single-parent households. They provide most of unpaid care work.”
The impact of COVID-19 is currently deepening these pre-existing inequalities, Mr Kappes further described. However, we need to remain optimistic and we do need more women entrepreneurs he argued before showcasing examples from Uganda and Columbia where women united in cooperatives to successfully counteract the impacts of the Pandemic.
Mr Kappes concluded his speech by highlighting that cooperatives are based on internationally agreed principles such as self-help, self-responsibility, self-administration, and to the values of democratic member control, honesty, openness, solidarity, social responsibility, and concern for others.
“We, as the International Raiffeisen Union, as a worldwide association of cooperative organisations that are committed to these very principles and values of Raiffeisen, heavily condemn the suffering caused by the war in Ukraine. We strongly call for a diplomatic solution and peace to stop the terrible situation, especially of children and women, in the country. Jointly, we must remain united in our work to foster self-help, our cooperative values and principles, our respect for women and equality, and our democratic behaviour” he closed his speech.
The full speech of Mr Kappes can be seen here: