Participation of Men and Women in Cooperatives in Asia Pacific
A pioneering research study was undertaken in 2015 to identify the gender quotient in the cooperatives in Asia Pacific. Entitled “Gender Is More than a Statistic –Status of Women in Co-operatives in the Asia-Pacific Region,’ the study had 28 apex cooperatives as respondents. The sectors represented in the study included agriculture, consumer, credit and savings, fishery, fertilizers, finance and banking, land and land settlement, service and informal sectors.

The study report was developed by the ICPRD Member Secretary Dr.Nandini Azad and presented at the Third Regional Conference on Status of Women in Cooperatives in Asia-Pacific in Philippines in February 2016.

Engendering SAARC Cooperatives
The President, Indian Cooperative Network for Women (ICNW), Dr.Nandini Azad addressed the pioneer Vaikunth Mehta Institute of Cooperative Management, Pune on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017 and highlighted the global recognition of gender equity as a key to the cooperative movement. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) state that gender equality is a fundamental right for a peaceful world towards growth and global poverty reduction. International Labor Organization (ILO) Recommendation no. 193 (7.3) cites, “Special consideration should be given to increasing women’s participation in the cooperative movement at all levels, particularly at management and leadership levels.” The Indian Parliament passed the crucial Constitution (111 Amendment) bill granting every Indian citizen the right to form a cooperative voluntarily as a human right insisting on autonomy and democracy.
Financial Inclusion for Poor and Tribal Women in Jharkhand
Since 2002, the Independent Commission for People’s Rights and Development (ICPRD) has been working to strengthen the livelihoods of indigenous tribal and poor women in SanthalPargana in the state of Jharkhand. Partnering with 15 local NGOs, ICPRD’s intervention activities helped life enhancement of nearly 12,000 tribal and poor women in four districts (Godda, Deoghar, Jamtara and Dumka) in state of Jharkhand.
Youth Forums for Gender Equality
Since 2005 the ICPRD initiated an innovative program, ‘Youth Forums for Gender Equality’ engaging male youth to address the violence against women and enhancing the rights of women and girls. The project was spread across rural Karnataka and Rajasthan in which young men of 14-24 years from low income communities were engaged in combating violence against women at household and community level.
The Working Women Forum/ Indian Cooperative Network for Women
Initiated in 1981, Indian Cooperative Network for Women is the first women cooperative in South India for, by and of poor women. It facilitates access to credit, providing opportunities to learn new skills, and securing employment for women. So far ICNW has disbursed loans worth over Rs.3000 million to 587,000 women entrepreneurs with the recovery rate of 99.6 percent even though the beneficiaries have been urban slum dwellers and landless poor in around 6,000 slums and villages. Its 14 branches operate in three southern states of India - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Its trainings include financial literacy, leadership and communication skill, gender sensitization, health care and skill development. ICNW also promotes replication through training partner organizations in Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and in other parts of South Asia.
Highlight of Past Activities

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