Empowering Visions: Women at the Heart of Co-op Housing

  8 March 2024

March 8th is International Women’s Day. To commemorate this occasion, we asked the incredible women in our organizations to share their experiences working in B.C.’s co-operative housing sector. Here’s what they had to say.

Fostering Gender Equality and Empowerment

At CHF BC, COHO, and CLT, we actively champion gender equality through various initiatives. COHO, in particular, stands out for its dedication to promoting women within the organization. The management organization ensures support for professional growth at every stage of both their career and personal life. Policies like parental leave and wellness time prioritize work/life balance for all employees reflect this commitment to empowerment at every level of the organization.

Supporting Women in Our Workplaces

Our workplaces prioritize creating supportive environments where women can thrive both personally and professionally. One of our colleagues at COHO shares her experience of effectively managing her family and work responsibilities as a single parent of three school-aged children. Similarly, CHF BC supports the diverse roles women hold emphasizing work/life balance for all employees. These inclusive approaches foster an environment where individuals can excel in both their professional and personal lives.

Advice for Women Considering a Career in Co-operative Housing

Considering a career in the co-operative housing sector? Here’s some advice. You’ll find an organization deeply committed to equality, evident in its day-to-day operations. This career allows you to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives every single day while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Surrounded by inspirational female role models, you’ll be encouraged to become the best version of yourself. These mentors not only share their knowledge but actively invest in your development This fosters an environment ripe for personal and professional growth.

Supporting Women in Co-operative Housing

Supporting women in our sector requires a multifaceted approach:

  • Education is essential for staff and co-op members to ensure everyone is equipped with the knowledge needed for success. I particular:
    • Educational opportunities specific to the co-op housing sector
    • DEI and gender equity training for all employees
  • Equal and fair pay policies promote gender equity.
  • Flexible work arrangements enable women to balance work and life demands effectively.
  • Mentorship and coaching are critical to empowering and creating opportunities for career advancement.

Recognizing this intersectionality—and empowering women from diverse backgrounds—are essential for o-op housing’s success.

An Ideal Future for Co-operative Housing in B.C.

Women play a pivotal role in the future of co-operative housing in B.C. Throughout our organizations’ history, they have been instrumental in creating the current co-op housing landscape, and it’s vital that this leadership continues with the next generation of co-operators.

By empowering women to take on leadership roles and actively participate in decision-making processes, we ensure that co-operative housing remains a beacon of stability and support for families in the future. Women’s contributions are essential in shaping a future where co-operative housing continues to thrive as a shelter from life’s storms for generations to come.

Women have played a pivotal role in creating our current co-op housing landscape. This must continue with the next generation of co-operators so that we continue to thrive and be a shelter from the storm for households in the future.

– Michelle Cooper-Iversen, Chief Operating Officer

In conclusion, the voices of women within CHF BC, COHO, and CLT resonate with strength and determination. They play a pivotal role in shaping the co-operative housing sector in British Columbia. From fostering gender equality to supporting work/life balance and promoting diversity and inclusion, our organizations are committed to empowering women at every level.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, we acknowledge the invaluable contributions of women in our workplaces. We envision a future where the co-operative housing community remains a beacon of stability and support for households across the province. Together, we continue to champion women’s leadership and strive towards creating an inclusive and thriving community for generations to come.

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