Dr. Nandini Azad, Chairperson of ICA-AP Committee on Women, participated in the 63rd meeting of UN Commission on status of women at New York and batted strongly for women emancipation through the means of cooperatives.
In the Town Hall meeting of CSW held at New York last month Nandini introduced the Working Women’s Forum and the Indian Cooperative Network for Women in South India, which has a mass base of 6,00,000 women co-operators.
Dr Azad highlighted the work being undertaken by them on reducing the incidence of gender-based violence cases as well as provision of loans to members of co-operatives to the tune of US $ 50 Mn. She was able to make a successful intervention in bringing about a meeting between the UN Secretary General (SG), António Guterres and the SG and civil society organizations during a Town Hall meeting.
The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Dr. Azad further informed the SG about how SG and co-operatives have proved their sustainability, especially, at a time when several other forms of civil society organization are struggling due to lack of funds. Co-operatives can indeed help other organizations become more sustainable too.
The UN SG responded saying, “Cooperatives are excellent mechanisms for organizing low income communities for economic and social resources but also are a strong political force for transformation.” Dr. Azad also initiated the official Indian panel (organized by the permanent mission of India) on the topic of ‘Khadi – the organic weave’, with the parameters of organising women weavers into cooperatives as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi. The full presentation can be accessed here.