Accelerating Inclusion: Achieving 50-30 in the Co-operative Sector


Canadian women have been banging on the doors of power demanding a place at the executive table for decades. Now, in 2022, the tide is turning and the Women’s Economic Council has been funded by government to accelerate women’s inclusion on boards, in leadership and senior management in Canada’s cooperative sector. It’s an exciting project. WEC sees big advantages for women in economic empowerment that builds communities and helps families. With this funding we are in a sweet spot. Our diverse and inclusive team, including those from many equity-deserving groups, and our valued cooperative and equity-deserving partners are ready for this ground-breaking Challenge.

Funded by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), Accelerating Inclusion: Achieving 50-30 in the Co-operative Sector will provide program support to the 50 – 30 Challenge Participants that have pledged to include more women in leadership, and increase the diversity of their boards and senior management. Through this project WEC will link Challenge Participants to best practices and tools, create new resources, provide guidance and advice on gender, equity, diversity and inclusion (GEDI), and promote the government’s What Works Toolkit.

As of September 28th 2022, more than 1700 organizations, including WEC, have signed on to the government’s 50:30 Challenge. It’s a high priority for many organizations because studies show, unequivocally, that diverse organizations thrive over the long-term. Including more women, and more diverse women, in leadership and senior management will dramatically increase an organization’s access to skilled talent, dynamic markets, creativity, innovation, and improved organizational performance.

WEC 50:30 project will:

  • Increase awareness of systemic barriers limiting women’s access to leadership positions in all sectors, including the co-op sector.
  • Increase collaboration and support among leaders to help them move onto the right tracks to meet the diversity and inclusion goals of the 50-30 Challenge.
  • Develop new strategies, best practices and resources, including updating and adapting what exists, to increase diversity and strengthen equity and inclusion.
  • Upskill and prepare more leadership-ready women, especially those in under-represented groups, to take on more roles in senior management.
  • Create new opportunities that connect diverse women to application, decision-making and retention processes in co-operative leadership.

Together with our valued cooperative and equity partners, WEC’s 50:30 Project will create pathways to more meaningful relationships with leadership-ready women, especially those in equity-deserving groups. It will develop tools and resources that meet women’s leadership and training needs, and build frameworks where each resource, tool and activity has been co-created by mixed teams of engaged women and Challenge Participants, with support from dedicated WEC and other equity professionals.

How are you bringing more women, especially those in equity-deserving groups, into your organizations?

All Canadian organizations are encouraged to sign up and join the 50-30 Challenge today!

If you have any questions about Achieving 50-30 in the Co-operative Sector, please contact the 50:30 Challenge team at: