The social sector is the first one also in terms of women participation: they represent 65% of total membership, compared to 55% of consumer cooperative and 46% of health cooperatives. As far as female employees are concerned, they are just under two-thirds (72.5%) of the entire workforce employed by social cooperatives.

Advancing gender equality: the cooperative way According to the ICA-ILO Report “Advancing gender equality: the cooperative way” published this year, cooperatives are more effective in providing local development, community wealth, social inclusion, women’s empowerment, and gender equality.
In Europe and North America, interviewees reported achievements in gender equality particularly in social cooperatives and within the financial sector.

The role of worker ,social cooperatives and producers’ cooperatives appears clearly when it comes to underlain how women benefit from the establishment of a cooperative: they gain access to jobs and self-employment.. Furthermore, some cooperatives specifically aim to employ women who are disadvantaged by factors such as poverty, gender-based violence and limited access to education and training. This extends inclusion to the most marginalized women.

Even in traditional sectors such as social care, cooperatives have emerged as a model where they fill the gaps between what communities need and what governments provide. Cooperatives provide a wide range of services, from day-care for children to home-care for the elderly in countries as wide ranging as Italy, Turkey and Japan, the reports says.