Eliza’s Project: Advancing gender equality in the CME sector

11 November 2016

Co-operative and mutual enterprises (CMEs) have a long history of empowering women. Women had an equal vote in co-operative leadership decades before they could vote for parliament. In 1846, Eliza Brierley became the first woman member of a co-operative.

Last year, the International Co-operative Alliance and the International Labor Organization surveyed the co-operatives sector globally, and found that, while women make up more than half the membership of co-ops, they are significantly under-represented at management and leadership levels. Preliminary research conducted by Per Capita for the BCCM has found a similar pattern in the CME sector in Australia.

Graph showing women as employees and managers - source Per Capita

Source: Per Capita

With its strong history of involving and empowering women, the CME sector is in a unique position to take a leadership role in addressing the gender gap at Executive and Board level, but more work is needed to identify the cultural and structural barriers.

The BCCM and Per Capita are seeking partners in the CME sector to join with us to complete this research. Together we will track women’s participation in governance, and develop best practice programs to increase the representation of women at the highest levels of the CME sector in Australia.

Are you interested?
Please contact Melina Morrison, CEO BCCM, if you are interested to know more or wish to get involved in Eliza’s Project: [email protected]

 

Teaser image: Betty Cooper (playing Eliza Brierley) from the new Rochdale Pioneers Film.

Latest news

15 May 2024

Co-operative sector welcomes Budget measures to boost social housing

Australia’s $40 billion co-operatives and mutuals sector has welcomed the Federal Government’s Budget initiatives to help ease cost of living pressures and address...
15 May 2024

BCCM Federal Budget 2024–25 alert

Measures of note for co-ops and mutuals across housing, small business, social care, manufacturing, competition policy and financial services.