Gender Issues in Co-operatives (1996)


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    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                         July, 1996

            (Source: ICA News, Issue No.3/1996- pp.6)

               Gender Issues in Co-operatives
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Congress Adopts New Policies
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The UK Co-operative Congress, Harrogate, UK, 1996, endorsed
the statement on gender equality adopted by the European Regional
Assembly of the ICA. The congress particularly noted the need
to encourage societies to commit themselves to the active
promotion of equality between men and women; the different
priorities of values, strengths and competence between men and
women and ensure equality of participation, job opportunities and
working conditions as well as equal access to training and
education opportunities.

The Congress urged co-ops to set and publicise action plans
which include targets for achievement and timescales, in order
to achieve the above objectives.

(Source: Co-operative Gazette, Information and Advisory
Bulletin 6, March 26, 1996)


Gender Project to Improve Efficiency and Job Satisfaction
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Folksam Insurance, Sweden has established a project "Gender
Perspectives on Skills and Qualifications in the Claims
Adjusters' Work". 

In the project, one female and one male group of claims
adjusters describe and analyze, together as well as in separate
groups, different forms of knowledge, skills and qualifications
in their work. One female and one male researcher will also
attend meetings and analyze the discussions. Seminars with guest
researchers will be held in between the group work. There will
be five seminars and five group meetings during 1996.

Issues discussed at the meetings and seminars will be: what is
knowledge? What kind of knowledge is valued and not valued?
What kind of knowledge is important in the claims adjusters'
work? How important is knowledge of human nature? Female and male
language - are there any differences in female and male
adjusters' contacts with clients and colleagues? Female and male
definitions of efficiency, service and quality in the work -do
female and male clients have different demands and preferences
with regards to the adjuster's sex?

The aim is to improve efficiency, quality and work
satisfaction by widening and combining gender perspectives. The
results will be used as a basis in forming a gender neutral job
evaluation and salary setting system in the company.

Perhaps this example may inspire similar projects in other
co-ops!

(Source: Katarina Apelqvist, Folksam, Chair of ICA Global
Women's Committee)

Network on Women in Co-ops 
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An electronic discussion group on women in co-operatives and
credit unions has been launched by the Canadian Co-operative
Association (CCA), known as `WICEN'. It is open to anyone who
has an Internet e-mail address. Upon becoming a member, all
conference comments and postings will arrive automatically in
your e-mail box.

WICEN will provide a forum for exchange of ideas, experiences
and information and a place to pose questions or propose
solutions; a place to share `best practices' and case studies
and to make new contact. The focus of discussions will be on
issues relating to women and co-operatives - issues such as
women's involvement on boards of directors and in decision-making
within co-operatives and credit unions; family-friendly policies
and practices in co-ops; women and co-op development; leadership
styles and marketing to women.

WICEN is open to members of co-ops and credit unions and not
restricted to women only. It is open to anyone with an
interest in the subject of women and co-ops.

To join the conference, one needs to subscribe on line through
e-mail to wicen-request@usask.ca. Please mention in your
e-mail : subscribe wicen <your e-mail address>.


                    Youth and Co-operatives
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Canada to Host Two  Events
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The Co-operators Insurance Group has launched a youth unity
project which will provide a forum for 100 Canadian youths
(aged 18-21) to explore, express and listen to diverse views on
Canadian unity at Hull, Ottawa, from August 17-23, 1996.
Further information, posters and application forms can be
obtained from Laura Gregson, The Co-operators, Priory Square,
Guelph, Ontario N1H 6P8, or on Internet home page
(http://www.cooperators.ca/cooperators/).

The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is also organizing
a Youth Conference in Halifax from June 24-25, 1996, where
Canadians, Colombians, Indonesias and Filipinos learnt about
co-ops in Canada and provided input on how to increase youth
involvement in co-ops. Check the Web site for more information
about youth initiatives
(http://www.cca.usask.ca/CCA/CCA.Home.html).