“The SEWA Way”: a New Report with the ILO

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) published on its website a new summary of the report “Advancing cooperation among women workers in the informal economy: The SEWA way” which aims to provide an understanding of the challenges and opportunities for cooperatives and other SSE enterprises in empowering women workers in the informal economy with a specific focus on the experience of Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).

Written with the collaboration of SEWA, “the full report should be coming out soon. We also plan to present it in a worker coop event in Kerala at the end of April with ICA-AP (International Cooperative Alliance Asia & Pacific)”, said Simel Esim, Head of the Cooperatives Unit in the ILO.

In its report, the ILO notes: “A fundamental reason for choosing the cooperative form of economic organizing is SEWA’s strong commitment to institutions that are owned, used and managed by the women workers in the informal economy themselves. Cooperatives are democratic, membership-based and member-driven organizations and enterprises, and thus are a natural organizational choice for SEWA, along with the union. Further, the strategy of joint action of unions and cooperatives can increase the collective strength and bargaining power of the self-employed to raise their incomes and more. Cooperatives can provide a pathway to formalization for the workers in the informal economy and increase recognition for their work.”

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