ICA General Assembly and Women's Committee Report (1997)

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This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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Oct, 1997
(Source: Asia-Pacific Co-op News, Vol.4, No.3, Jul-Sept. 1997, pp.7)

ICA General Assembly and Women's Committee Report
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The ICA General Assembly held  in Geneva, Switzerland on September
15 and 16, 1997 proposed changes to the rules, policies and procedures
to increase female, regional and sectoral representation. The proposal
included increasing the number of board positions from 16 to 20 to
improve female and sectoral representation, and to allow the board to
"co-opt" a maximum of four women to sit on the board.

The amendment read that if, following elections at the general assembly,
the board deems that the representation of women is inadequate, the
board can  "co-opt" up to four women whose names will be submitted
for ratification at the following general assembly.  

The ICA Women's Committee strenuously objected the amendments
saying, "The ICA Global Women's Committee finds the amendments to
the ICA Rules regarding the co-option of women to the ICA board
`Unacceptable' and calls on the members of the ICA General Assembly to
not support the pro-posed changes to Article 17 (a)." Women's committee
members felt the word "co-opt" carries negative connotations.  It implies
that women do not want positions on the board and must be forced into
accepting leadership roles. The general assembly did agree to drop the
word from the amendment.

While this general assembly doubled female representation on the board
over last time from to two out of 20, women are actually worse off than
they were before (when the board had only 16 seats).  It was a failure. The
general assembly did emphasise that each region must make a greater effort
to send women candidates for board elections.