In an effort to tackle inequality but also promote better representation of women in the decision-making positions, the Réseau International des Femmes Solidaires (RIFES) (International Network of Solidarity Women) – created by the Programme d’Appui aux Stratégies Mutualistes (PASS) (Support Programme for Mutualist Strategies), a partner of the ESN – has launched a campaign to mobilise and raise awareness on gender equality. It is centered around a series of video capsules developed for mutualist women and women in social and solidarity economy in West Africa.
Divia Kibangou (PASS communication officer) described the process of creation and the objectives of these capsules during the webinar “Solidarity Initiatives of the Education and Solidarity Network” organised on 13 July 2021.
In all societies, the observation is the same: women are still confronted with what is commonly called the glass ceiling. Although some progress has been made in recent decades, there are still considerable gaps between women and men throughout the world, particularly in terms of income.
On a global scale, women only enjoy on average 75% of the rights granted to men, such as being able to own property or open a bank account according to the World Bank’s “Women business and the law 2020” report. And as for employment, the average activity rate of women is 20% lower than that of men, according to the International Monetary Fund.
This disparity, in addition to representing a financial cost to society – by generating lower productivity and a deficit in economic growth – also deprives women of economic autonomy and prevents them from accessing positions of high responsibility.
SSE and mutual organisations are no exception to this, especially in West African countries. This is why PASS has created the RIFES as an interactive platform for women in these organisations to communicate and collaborate for a better inclusion and recognition of women workers in their structures.
The “Mutualist Women’s Day” is the annual event where these women (leaders, elected representatives and employees) meet to strengthen their links and create synergies. However, as Covid-19 restrictions have limited international travel, the PASS has initiated the creation of capsules designed to raise awareness on gender equality issues among RIFES members in both their social and professional environments. They also aim to provide information on the solidarity-based health coverage systems established around the network.
Divia Kibangou indicates that a dozen capsules will be put online and made accessible via the RIFES website and social networks. They will be released until the next “Mutualist Women’s Day”, scheduled for 2022.
Watch the first 2 videos published on the PASS and RIFES websites and Facebook pages.