Social Economy in Gender Perspective: The Challenge of the Next Generations

9 Dec 2016

By Gabriela Nacht, Research Secretariat at Centro Cultural de la Cooperación Floreal Gorini

and Julia Villafañe, Youth Constituent at Mobilizing Institute of Co-operative Funds Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos


In Argentina, since 1986 the National Meeting of Women (Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres - ENM) is held annually. It consists of an open, horizontal, democratic, self-funded and self-organized encounter. In addition, it is federal, so each year is done in a different location of the country. Even given their relevance, women from other latitudes who break national borders to participate and share realities and lives.


Throughout a weekend in October, activities are held in the host city: an opening act, a large number of thematic discussion workshops, self-managed cultural activities, a march (where the main slogans revolve around The legalization and gratuitousness of safe abortion and the elimination of gender violence), and a closing assembly, in which the conclusions of the workshops are read and, in addition, the host city of the next meeting is decided. Women of different social classes, generations and political identities debate, co-organize, coexist, talk, say and listen to each other. The whole spectrum of feminism is represented in the ENMs, because, as the main slogan says "The meeting is all of us" (“el encuentro somos todas”).


This year, the ENM was held in the city of Rosario, and attended about 100 thousand women. The almost 70 workshops were the heart of the meeting, and there we discussed a variety of issues. In the end, the conclusions of each workshop were drafted collectively by consensus / dissent (the democratic form that distinguishes the ENMs), to be read in the closing assembly. The themes of the workshops covered areas of diverse kinds: such as work, family, maternity, political participation, mental health, violence, imperialism, trade unionism, and many others ... that calls us to think problematic and generate alternative proposals.


A group of women from the Youth and Gender Secretariat of the 2nd grade cooperative Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos IMFC (Mobilizing Institute of Co-operative Funds) were present - as at each meeting - in the workshop on "Women and Productive Organizations, Cooperatives and the People's Economy." The experience was very valuable for the content of the discussion, by the exchange generated between women of different social and generational sectors, the views on the cooperativism; And also by the different routes and experiences. The diversity and horizontality, already manifested in the very dynamics of organization of the ENM also, was present in these discussions. Thus, the workshops once again allowed to discuss in equality from work experience, professional experience, personal experience, academic knowledge, or territorial militancy, based on reciprocal learning. We returned with knowledge and with the satisfaction of having known, recognized and visible among cooperative women.


As a corollary, only a week after the end of the ENMs, the strike and mobilization of women for the elimination of gender violence was carried out in Argentina. This event continued the demonstrations initiated in 2015 carried out under the slogan "Not one less, we want us alive” (“Ni una menos, vivas nos queremos") and had replicas in other Latin American countries. Although the struggle for the eradication of gender violence has a long history, it is undeniable the leading and massive place for the new generations. A justice and democratic project that does not address gender issues is unthinkable today.


Although there is still a long way to go, the massiveness and visibility of gender violence - which affects women as well as any other dissident, diverse, non-heteronormative identity - is a note of the time. In this sense, we understand that young women have inherited historic achievements for women, but we also have spaces to rethink and take an active role.


Integrated in this context, the development of the cooperative movement's own policies to eradicate gender-based violence within each organization is a fundamental and urgent task, and it is the new generations who are supposed to be driving it. In coherence with the values ​​and principles that identify us, we cannot but give the example from the participation and the possibility of opening new horizons for the cooperative women present and future.

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