Central Co-op Embraces Equity and Celebrates Women in IWD Event

Posted by sam bishop | Published: 10/03/2023

This International Women’s Week, Central Co-op joined in with the focus of #EmbraceEquity. While equality is all about treating people the same, equity is about treating people differently to treat them fairly, giving everyone the same opportunities and chances, as Equity and Equality are two values at the heart of all co-operatives. 

All week the Society has encouraged ‘thank you’ cards to be sent to women within Central Co-op as a part of its digital Recognition Wall, encouraging colleagues to recognise and appreciate their fellow colleagues and the work that they do. Members and colleagues got together in person at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for an International Women’s Day event on Wednesday, 8th March, bringing together communities of inspirational women to talk about important topics.  

Speaking at the event was Dame Margaret Beckett, Britain's first female Foreign Secretary who also holds the record for the female MP with the longest service overall. Dame Pauline Green also addressed attendees, having made history as the first female Chief Executive of Co-operatives UK. 

Various workshops were hosted to discuss important topics for women worldwide, including Co-operative work in Malawi, as a part of Central Co-op's celebration of women internationally. This included a video from Portia Chirwa, who's part of the project for Our Malawi Partnership, talking about her career journey, the co-operative movement in Malawi, and challenges women in Malawi face.  

The other workshops were about embracing equity and the conversations around menopause, with an additional floristry demonstration available to enjoy too, conducted by members of Central Co-op's own floristry team. 

Webinars have been held throughout the week, inviting all women to learn about topics like imposter syndrome and embracing your inner lioness, empowering women to use superpowers of empathy, passion, intuition, and resilience to lead with authenticity. A discussion on personal development was also hosted, featuring female panellists across the Society, and Chief Executive Debbie Robinson shared her experiences of being a woman in business via a fireside chat from Diversity in Retail. 

For further details, head to the Central Co-op website, Facebook, and Twitter. Details on becoming a Member can be found on the Membership site

About Central Co-op 

Central Co-op is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK, with a heritage stretching back over 175 years and interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.  

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its 7,700 colleagues serve customers across 440 plus trading sites in 21 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.   

Its purpose is to create a sustainable Society for all.   

It actively campaigns for food justice and works with FareShare Midlands and a network of local food banks. It also adds £1 to every Healthy Start Voucher redeemed in store and supports six schools in partnership with Magic Breakfasts. 

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter. The Society is also a member of Diversity in Retail and it is fully committed to addressing the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon and food waste, increasing recycling and investment in community Sustainable Spaces funded by the carrier bag levy. It recently launched its Malawi Partnership to support farmers and producers in the country through the Co-operative International Trading Development Fund.  

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £109,769.25 shared out between 121 good causes in 2022. 

Press office contact: Sam Bishop, PR Specialist  

Contact details:   


07385 048048