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Global mapping of the provision of care through cooperativess

In an effort to the understand the ways in which cooperative enterprises manifest in the care sector, the ILO Cooperatives Unit (COOP) and the Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch (GED) undertook the present joint initiative: a global mapping of the provision of care through cooperatives. The broad objectives of this mapping were to assess theĀ global landscape of cooperatives that provide care, identify the challenges and opportunities that cooperatives face, and determine the resources that cooperatives need in order to be viable care providers, enterprises and employers.

This initiative grew out of two recent ILO initiatives: the mapping of domestic worker cooperatives, which identified over 40 domestic worker cooperatives worldwide; and Advancing Gender Equality: The Cooperative Way, the Beijing+20 joint publication with the Alliance, which assessed the impact and interplay between cooperatives and gender equality.

The present mapping complements other current ILO programmes and research, particularly those concerning domestic workers, migrant workers in the global supply chain of care and transitioning from informal-to-formal economy. By setting forth original data which explores an innovative solution for work in an emerging sector of employment, the provision of care through cooperatives mapping diversifies and extends current initiatives of the ILO. This mapping is also timely in regards to recent developments in the cooperative movement, the care economy and the gender equality movement on issues such as the global care chain and equitable opportunities for women in labour markets.

Furthermore, this mapping feeds into the larger forward-looking framework of the ILO Director Generalā€™s Future of Work Initiative. As the Director General so poignantly asks in his Future of Work Centenary Initiative, what will it take to realise the potential of care, given that so much of care work is underpaid or unremunerated? Cooperatives have emerged as one innovative solution to this inequity. The present mapping initiative seeks to understand how and why.


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