4th Conference on Women - About the ICA Statement

     This document has been made available in electronic format 
          by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
                         October 1995

                           ICA NEWS

  Special Issue on Women and Co-operatives Published to Coincide 

          with the Fourth World Conference on Women, 
                    Beijing, September 1995

     ICA statement to the Fourth World Conference on Women

In its Statement to the Fourth World Conference on Women in
Beijing, the ICA reiterates the potential of co-operatives for
improving the economic and social conditions of women worldwide.
In the words of the United Nations Secretary-General:

"Co-operative enterprises provide the organizational means
whereby a significant proportion of humanity is able to take into
its own hands the task of creating productive employment,
over-coming poverty and achieving social integration.  They
constitute a model for a people-centred and sustainable form of
societal organization, based on equity, justice and solidarity. 
And they involve in the development process all sections of
society including women..."

The ICA Statement stresses that co-operatives have a key role to
play as they are able to respond to both women's practical and
strategic needs - those critical areas of concern noted in the
Platform for Action  - by providing access to income-generating
activities as worker-owners and providing essential services,
such as health-care, child-care and consumer goods,which
contribute to the advancement of women. 

The Platform for Action  recognizes the contribution of
co-operatives to the advancement of women - that of increasing
women's economic capacities through income-generating

Co-operatives are a form of organization which women can use to
help themselves. With their democratic structure, co-operatives
offer women opportunities for participation in and influence over
economic activities. Women gain self-reliance through this
participation, as well as access to opportunities which they
would not have been able to obtain on their own. 

Over the last 100 years of its existence, the International
Co-operative Alliance  (ICA) has been working with and through
co-operatives to empower both women and men in partnership. 
Indeed in its very first Congress in 1895, the need to fully
integrate women into the Co-operative Movement was recognized as
a means of achieving economic and social advancement. 
Co-operatives have served communities and contributed  to the
advancement of women in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. 
However, we realize that much work lies ahead.

Through their national, regional and international organizations,
co-operatives have pledged to further the advancement of women.
The ICA  is actively working towards this aim - our common
challenge for the next millennium.