Gender Equality: Its Importance and Impact
Ms. Mary Kate Costello was a guest speaker at the Co-op Youth Summit 2016. Despite not being directly involved with co-operatives, Ms. Costello mentioned that the nature of her job required her to adopt the various co-operative values. As a policy analyst, she ensured that the policies implemented are gender-neutral so that everyone enjoys the full benefits from it.
Unlike the other speakers at the event, Ms. Costello does not believe that all businesses can be turned into co-operatives. She quoted “Not all models follow the same shared concept and they do not really follow comparable decision-making and the sharing of power,” and this is true to an extent because firms such as banks will stand to suffer and make a loss if the decision-making process was shared among the members.
Ms. Costello believed that the sharing of knowledge can bring about a social impact on the lines of gender equality. She stated that a gender-equal society should be made a top priority and that men need to start sharing their resources with, and in some cases, give exclusively to women. Hence, if resources such as knowledge were accessible to all without regard to gender, and there are intergenerational communication and values being passed down to youths, the lessons learnt by the experienced can become valuable lessons for the youths. This would, in turn, help the future generation of youths to fulfill their different needs, regardless of their gender.
Overall, Ms. Costello is a strong advocate for gender equality, as she believes that gender inequality stands in the way of societal peace. Concluding the interview, she said, “If women were to be given equal or more resources and knowledge, it would not take anything away from the men, but instead add value to them.”
Diploma in Business and Social Enterprise, Year 2, Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Ngee Ann Polytechnic Consumer Co-operative Society