NCBA CLUSA represents International Co-operative Alliance at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

Speaking on behalf of the International Co-operative Alliance, NCBA CLUSA’s COO for International Programs Amy Coughenour Betancourt represented the cooperative movement at a high-level event during the Commission on the Status of Women at United Nations headquarters in New York ahead of International Women’s Day in March.

The event, "Realizing Women’s Economic Empowerment in Rural Areas through Co-operative and Micro-enterprises," focused on how women contribute to their local economies and foster the collective spirit necessary to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Coughenour Betancourt discussed how cooperatives need an enabling legal, economic and social environment at a national level to continue empowering women, and illustrated how NCBA CLUSA’s work in Senegal through the USAID-funded Yaajeende project helps women improve food security.

“Only one thing is better than an empowered woman: a group of empowered women,” Coughenour Betancourt said in her remarks. “And that’s what a cooperative can create.”

Welcoming remarks were given by high-level ministers and dignitaries from Italy, Morocco, the Solomon Islands, Mongolia and Fiji, who co-organized the event with Botswana, Papua New Guinea, the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality and the International Women’s Peace Group.

His Excellency Sukhbold Sukhee, permanent representative of Mongolia to the UN, said that governments needed to build a favorable environment for women to create business opportunities, such as cooperatives.

On the panel with Coughenour Betancourt were Esther Lungu, the First Lady of the Republic of Zambia, Elisa Fernandez of UN Women, Monica Parrella of the Department for Equal Opportunities in Italy and Fatoumata Doumbia of AGILE International in Mali.

Lungu reinforced the role of the cooperative movement in Zambia, noting that women account for 42 percent of rural household income and that cooperatives are an empowering force. Fernandez showed a video illustrating how a women’s cooperative in Guinea generates income and improves community life.

To learn more, read Amy’s presentation  and the ICA's policy brief, both presented at the event.

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