The Merry Month of March

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Women are an interesting topic especially when I conduct lectures on Gender and Development (GAD) in Co-ops. To attract attention for my lectures, I try to inject some astonishing facts about women I encountered in my research. In Algeria for example, 70% of lawyers are women, 60% of their judges are women, the field of medicine is likewise dominated by women and 60% of college students are women. I was also surprised that India, as a result of a survey in 2018, tops the most dangerous countries in the world for a woman. US is number 10 in the rankings while the rest of the top 10 are Muslim countries.

March is Women’s Month. So, hats off to all the women in the world who are making a great difference in their homes and in their communities especially to those who, because of what they do, have better families, better companies and better husbands.

That is why women’s month should not be celebrated by women alone but by both men and women. Women have always been a part of everyone’s lives. We all came from our mother’s womb come to think of it. This should be enough to honor women. Therefore, despite their imperfections and shortcomings, we should respect women and their contribution not only to human life but also to the development of society, realizing that men too, have their own weaknesses and abuses.

In the co-op sector, women are generally held in high esteem. They are usually given the treatment they deserve. The men in co-ops recognize the roles appropriate for women in their organizations. Let me explain. Of the top 43 co-ops in the Cordillera Region, there are 25 female managers or 58% while there are 18 male managers or 42%. These are large co-ops with hundreds of millions in asset and engaged in diversified business operations. And yet, majority of these co-ops are better managed by women. Does this mean, women are better at managing big co-ops than men? I don’t know but is seems this is what the data shows. However, men dominate the chairmanship position in the Board of Directors which means, men are better decision makers than women.

If we are going to widen the coverage, the percentage of women in the management position increases to 63% in the 254 co-ops that have managers as recorded in the CDA data. 161 co-ops have women managers while 93 co-ops have male managers or 37%.

Although this is not the case in corporations where women CEOs are way below 50% in the Philippines and around 25% in Asia, but the number is increasing which is good news as far as women empowerment is concerned.

Be that as it may, I still congratulate the women in co-operatives, CEOs, managers and employees alike. You are there for a noble purpose. So I encourage you to fulfill that because you definitely contribute to the growth and development of your co-ops.

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