International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women at Work
Since 1910, International Women’s Day has been observed on March 8th to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and serves as a reminder to continue working towards gender equality. Since the first co-op opened in Rochdale, England in 1844 women have always been able to own a share of the business and cast a vote, long before women would gain the right to vote (1920 in the US, 1928 in the UK). Even today in traditional retail businesses only 37% hold senior level manager jobs, and just 8% are CEO’s.
The grocery industry in particular has had a long reputation of being a male-focused business, but like many things, the co-op leads the way in creating change along with a wealth of opportunity for women. From stocking shelves, ordering product, paying the bills, and managing departments to serving on our Board of Directors, organizing events, cooking in our deli, baking bread, even creating this newsletter – women are essential to our workforce. In addition, our commitment to fair trade foods and goods from vendors such as Matr Boomie, La Riojana, Equal Exchange, and Alaffia, gives women around the world the opportunity to earn their own money, become leaders, and create opportunities for other women in their communities.
All of this work and awareness is important and none of it could be accomplished well without a strong foundation of trust. The co-op supports and empowers all workers by providing a safe workplace free from sexual harassment, a private grievance process free from retaliation, independence through livable wages and benefits, and equal opportunity for advancement.
As an independent and democratically owned co-operative, we are proud of our history and appreciate the work we are doing together building a strong future for women locally and around the world. Thank you for choosing CO-OP!