Women and young people, at the forefront of reducing inequalities

The closing of the first day of the Regional Conference was reserved for the panel aimed at investing in the knowledge of young people and women in search of overcoming regional gaps and inequalities.

The authorities of the Regional Gender Equality Committee (CREG), Myriam Báez, and the Regional Youth Committee (CRJ), the young Marcelo Portillo, were present. Also present were Xiomara Núñez de Céspedes, President of the ICA World Committee on Gender Equality; and Ana Aguirre, President of the ICA World Youth Committee. 

In all cases, they talked about the work that the different committees have been carrying out both on the continent and in the world, in order to give more opportunities and voice in decision-making spaces to women and young cooperative members. 

At the opening and closing of the panel, Báez encouraged continued work to promote participation and empowerment. “We have to take advantage of the opportunities generated by investment in the training of women and young cooperative members, fundamental pillars of the economy today and in the future.” 

Along these lines, Portillo assured: “Young people are not only the future, we are also the present. But we need support and investment in the preparation and promotion of youth leaders.”  

On the global stage, Núñez de Céspedes thanked the ACI for the possibility of discussing and causing changes in the world about the place that women have in different areas. “It's our time. We need to balance the board, in terms of salaries, jobs... It is not just about denouncing but learning to act.”  

Aguirre, for his part, expressed the need to continue building bridges between different committees at the global and regional level. “One of the qualities of cooperativism is its multigenerational nature, in addition to promoting decent, democratic, fair and shared ownership work.” 

Finally, two young cooperative leaders shared interesting experiences. This is the president of the Percilia e Lúcio Renewable Energy Cooperative (Brazil), Bruna Santos, explaining the work that youth has been doing to sustainably electrify marginal neighborhoods in Brazil.

 In turn, the coordinator of the organization Action Against Hunger, Naffie Pérez, presented the program they implement in Central America with the support of cooperatives for food security.  

Both opened the door to thinking about specific cooperative projects, engaged in priority economic sectors such as renewable energies with social inclusion and climate change mitigation.  

The closing of the panel was carried out by Myriam Báez, urging cooperatives to give more spaces to women and young people, because it has been proven that they are generators of positive changes. 

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