Co-ops and mutuals are #CrackingTheCode this International Women’s Day

08 March 2023

Today, Wednesday 8 March, we are celebrating International Women’s Day 2023. UN Women Australia have declared this year’s theme to be: Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future. Find out more about International Women’s Day in Australia.

Co-ops and mutuals are #CrackingTheCode this International Women’s Day by leveraging inclusive technologies, embracing disruptive innovation and ensuring access to education. We must crack our cultural, economic and social codes and behaviours that entrench inequality.

Co-operatives and mutuals support the advancement of women and gender equality. Global co-operative principles protect the rights of women to join co-ops and benefit from economic empowerment:

  • Principle 1: Open and voluntary membership
  • Principle 3: Members’ economic participation

Global co-operative principles empower women entrepreneurs and build the skills and capacity of women:

  • P5: Education, training and information

Global co-operative principles ensure the purpose of the business is to benefit the wider society and environment:

  • P7: Concern for the community

Co-ops and mutuals advance women in leadership roles. In 2016, among the top 100 co-ops and mutuals in Australia only 3 per cent had female CEOs and only 15 per cent had female Chairs. That number has grown since; in 2022, of the top 100 co-ops and mutuals in Australia, 23 per cent had female CEOs and 25 per cent had female Chairs, whereas the proportion of CEOs in the top 200 ASX-listed companies has risen by just 2 per cent to 7 per cent.

We know there is more work to do. As businesses owned by 8 in 10 Australians, co-ops and mutuals play a vital role in advancing the position of women in business and society. The BCCM collects data on gender inclusion in Australian co-ops and mutuals in the National Mutual Economy Report.

We celebrate women’s achievements in co-operative and mutual businesses.


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