The members of COPAC have selected equality as the theme for the 2015 International Day of Cooperatives, to be celebrated on 4 July 2015, with an accompanying slogan of “Choose cooperatives, choose equality”.
Equality is at the center of every cooperative enterprise. Anyone, regardless of age, gender or cultural or ethnic background, can join a cooperative through its open membership principle. Cooperatives are democratically governed enterprises, meaning that every member has the same decision making power (“one member, one vote” system). Cooperative enterprises also exist to serve a community need related to equality: ensuring equal access to quality goods and services. As people-centred businesses, cooperatives put people before the bottom line, helping its members, owners and workers to achieve equality locally and beyond.
In addition to supporting the cooperative identity, the theme of equality reflects the political climate of 2015. The United Nations are currently negotiating the post-2015 development framework and the accompanying Sustainable Development Goals, to push forward the work on equality begun by the Millennium Development Goals. 2015 also marks twenty years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which outlined an agenda to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. Current events focus on inequalities in income, in access to education and employment opportunities and in bearing the brunt of climate change.
The members of COPAC recognised these realities in their selection of equality as the theme of the 2015 International Day of Cooperatives, which will highlight and celebrate the important contributions of cooperatives in this domain.
The slogan of “Choose cooperatives, choose equality” embodies the idea that cooperatives are unique from other businesses in their efforts in equality.
COPAC traditionally selects the annual International Day of Cooperatives theme and slogan as part of its awareness raising activities.