In good health

After the knockabout in the media in recent weeks, leading to the positive news on the added capital cushion for the Co-operative Bank, it is good to report that the co-operative sector overall is in good shape.

Homegrown: The Co-operative Economy 2013 is the annual statistical digest for the co-operative sector. It shows a growth in the co-operative economy for the fifth consecutive year, with a record number of people with co-operative memberships – now at 15.4 million.

Over recent years the sector has been running a campaign to promote gender equality in co-operatives and in the economy more widely. Two years ago, in Co-operatives Fortnight, we surveyed the voice and position of women in the movement, including some excellent and inspiring examples of good practice. This year, we have tracked this in terms of numbers.

The results show that 37% of director posts are held by women in co-operatives, compared to 13% in listed companies in the wider economy. This is good news for co-ops and a positive example of how business more widely can benefit from being more open.

These are tough times for all business, but the co-operative sector is in good health.

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