Egalitarian and inclusive policies and regulations
Living in a housing cooperative involves participating in the collective management of one’s living space. The Women’s Participation, Women’s Power project gives you access to the tools and processes which allow for democratic, egalitarian and inclusive ways of operating which are consistent with cooperative values.
Encouraging women's participation
A group called “Les Voisines” (“The Neighbour Women”), which was put in place as part of the project, decided to reflect on governance. These women, who were already involved in their cooperative, participated in a collective conversation on what strategies could be put in place to ensure that everyone is included in the cooperative movement.
The contribution of the "Voisines"
This reflection led Les Voisines to revise four of the documents which outlined how housing cooperatives function. This work was done through the lens of gender-based analysis (GBA+).
What is governance?
Governance is the set of rules and organizational resources which aim to ensure that our cooperatives run in a democratic way. It defines how power and responsibility is shared and how decision-making bodies and participatory events are organized.
Why do we need to update our policies and regulations?
The regulations and policies of a cooperative have often not been changed since the creation of said cooperative. However, many factors may have changed since the cooperative was created, both from a social and a legal standpoint. Therefore, it is essential that a cooperative regularly revises its policies and regulations and changes or removes any problematic articles. When modifying these policies, it is also important to ensure that they are as inclusive as possible - just as we suggest with the four examples shared here.
Where to start?
Consult the guide “Inclusive and Egalitarian Policies and By-Laws for My Cooperative: A Guide for Co-op Members”. This guide shares the legal and administrative framework which covers the models and regulations we suggest. The guide is built around frequently asked questions and presents the advantages of making the suggested changes.
Your policies and regulations must respect the seven principles established by the International Cooperative Alliance:
- Voluntary and open membership for all;
- Democratic power controlled by members;
- Members’ economic participation;
- Autonomy and independence;
- Education, training and information;
- Cooperation among cooperatives;
- Concern for community.