Capitalism is built on inequality – gender, race, class and species – but feminists around the world are involved in fighting against it, and together we’re building economies based on valuing the devalued, on integration, equal rights & opportunities, intersectionality, justice, democracy and, of course, solidarity.
Gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental to achieving sustainable human development. Women represent over 50% of the population; they do 66% of work at global level, but receive only 10% of global income. Only 1% of women are land or property owners¹, and they are the first to be affected by poverty.
Because the solidarity economy movement is made up of economic initiatives that put people and planet before profit, it has the means to overcome this – and all types of – inequality. Solidarity economy initiatives have inherent values (self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, ecological sustainability, justice and solidarity) and include much of the informal economy, like unpaid childcare circles. Those of us working within the solidarity economy movement believe system change is essential if we are to address the fundamental issues created by the dominant economic system, and that this is not possible without engaging in political struggles for radical changes to our political, financial and commercial systems. So, whilst economics is the focus of our work, we recognise that a just transition to a fairer world needs close co-ordination and solidarity with other social movements.
Women are at the forefront of the international solidarity economy movement.
According to RIPESS (the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy), 66% of those involved in the SSE (Social Solidarity Economy) in Europe are women; in Canada, 70%, and in Africa, it’s an impressive 80% (2). The contribution of women within the economy everywhere is vital, but it’s still being overlooked. That’s why we think the RIPESS intercontinental Women & the SSE working group is so important. The purpose of the group is to:
• Raise awareness of the reality, challenges, and progress of women in the SSE
• Highlight women’s innovation in SSE and the egalitarian practice that encourages socio-economic empowerment
• Promote SSE as a strategy to improve the socio-economic situation of women and girls
• Promote the inclusion of this theme in the work of the continental, national and local organisations and networks, declarations, planning and research.
Here’s how you can get involved:
• Join the group and attend the virtual quarterly meetings
• Like the Facebook page to learn from others and share your perspectives
• Explore some of the resources to get a deeper understanding of the issues
From everyone at SEA, we want to wish all the women who are working to build and support the growth of the international solidarity economy movement an empowered International Women’s Day 2018! #IWD2018
(1) Source: UNICEF – 2007
(2) Source: Report of the International Seminar on Social and Solidarity Economy with a Gender Perspective – Women of the World – 2012