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What is ICA Global Women's Committee ? (1998)

November 1998

The ICA Global Women's Committee is a specialized committee of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) which promotes equality between women and men and gender integration in the co-operative movement and society.


The Global Women's Committee was formed in 1965.  It is a forum for the discussion and the exchange of experiences and ideas of worldwide co-operative women's issues and questions.

The vision of the Committee is of a gender integrated movement and a society where women's and men's values, skills and contributions are valued equally and can be utilised on an equal basis, thus sharing rights and responsibilities, and where the organisation of work and decision-making structures are based on women's needs and values as well as those of men.The Committee is a catalyst for the implementation of the vision.

The Committee advocates self-empowerment and the promotion of women through positive actions such as: gender awareness training for women and men; training schemes for women; career incentives; recruiting and promotion schemes; mentorship programmes; access to decision-making bodies. It calls for defined targets and timetables as a means of achieving equality between women and men. The Committee also facilitates the establishment of Regional Women's Committees.


The Committee organises seminars and conferences which examine themes from a female perspective. Recent themes addressed include: "Women and Credit Unions" (Geneva,1993) and "Women and the Environment" (Manchester,1995). In 1997 the Committee organised two seminars: -"Co-operatives in a Market Economy - Women's Contributions and Perspectives" organised in collaboration with Centrosoyuz of Russia and ICA Europe (June, 1997, St. Petersburg) and "Co-operatives in the Local Community - A Female Perspective" o
The Committee also co-sponsors courses. For example in 1995 the Committee in collaboration with Swedish organisations held a three day international research seminar on "Female Perspectives on Co-operation"  and in 1996 the Committee in collaboration with Co-op Network, co-operative colleges in Germany and the United Kingdom and with the financial support of the Phare and Tacis Programme, ran a three 3-week courses for Polish women in marketing, advertising and promotion, management and negotiation techni
The Committee has 52 members from 29 countries worldwide. Membership is open to all ICA member organisations who nominate women co-operators - whether elected representatives or employees to participate in the workof the Committee. The Committee meets once a year.

The work of the members is voluntary and unpaid. Members' expenses for participation in the meetings of the Committee (travel and other) are paid by the member's organisation / employer. Although the Committee
has no financial resources of its own, it is able to mobilize financial support for its activities and projects from donor agencies and member organizations.

ICA is an independent, non-governmental association which unites, represents and serves co-operatives worldwide. Founded in 1895, it now has 232 national members in 93 countries, plus four international members.

Chairperson :

Ms Wanda Giuliano
Director Promotion Department
Lega nazionale delle Cooperative e Mutue (LEGACOOP)
Via A. Guattani 9
00 161 Rome

Ms. MariaElena Chavez
Director UN/NGO Relations
International Co-operative Alliance
15, route des Morillons
1218 Grand-Saconnex, Geneva
Tel : (41-22) 929 88 25
Fax : (41-22) 798 41 22
E-mail :

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