The COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Women’s Cooperatives in the Western MediterraneanPelin Demircan Yıldırım
COVID-19 has emerged as a global pandemic affecting the whole world and has had unexpected and profound effects on socioeconomic life. In this situation where existing inequalities continue to increase each day, emerging evidence regarding the effects of COVID-19 indicates women’s economic and productive lives to have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had financially devastating effects on women’s cooperatives, where women come together through cooperation and solidarity in order to improve their lives. As a result, women’s cooperatives have had to slow down or even stop their business activities during the pandemic. This study aims to reveal how and the extent to which women’s cooperatives have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, interviews were conducted with a total of nine participants at eight women’s cooperatives in the Turkish provinces of Antalya, Burdur, and Isparta. The research analyzed the data that had been obtained through semi-structured interviews in the program MAXQDA 2020 and found the pandemic to have affected women’s cooperatives financially the most. When examining the relationships the coded themes have with one another, those who were unable to receive financial support as a result of the transition to living at home due to the pandemic were found to have had their financial lives impacted and to have had difficulty accessing social benefits. Financial support and solidarity networks should be created for women’s cooperatives during the pandemic, and social awareness toward the issues women’s cooperatives experience should be increased.
COVİD-19 Pandemi Süreci ve Batı Akdeniz’deki Kadın Kooperatiflerini(N) EtkilemesiPelin Demircan Yıldırım
Covid-19 tüm dünyayı etkisi altına alan küresel bir tehdit olarak karşımıza çıkmış ve sosyo-ekonomik hayatımızda beklenmedik derin etkiler yaratmıştır. Mevcut eşitsizlikler giderek artmaya devam ederken, Covid-19’ un etkisine dair ortaya çıkan kanıtlar, kadınların ekonomik ve üretken yaşamlarının orantısız şekilde etkilendiğini göstermiştir. Özellikle kadınların yaşamlarını iyileştirmek üzere iş birliği ve dayanışma yoluyla bir araya geldiği kadın kooperatiflerini finansal açıdan daha da yıpratıcı hale getirmiştir. Bu nedenle kadın kooperatifleri Pandemi sürecinde işletme faaliyetlerini yavaşlatmak hatta durdurmak zorunda kalmıştır. Bu araştırmanın amacı, Covid-19 Pandemisi’nden kadın kooperatiflerinin nasıl etkilendiğini ve aynı zamanda kadın kooperatiflerinin bu süreci nasıl etkilediğini ortaya koymaktır. Bu doğrultuda Antalya, Burdur ve Isparta’dan toplamda 9 katılımcı ve 8 kadın kooperatifiyle görüşme yapılmıştır. Çalışmada yarı yapılandırılmış görüşmeler aracılığıyla elde edilen veriler, MAXQDA 2020 programında analize tabi tutulmuştur ve Pandemi sürecinin kadın kooperatiflerinin en çok finansal yaşamlarını etkilediği bulgusuna ulaşılmıştır. Ek olarak, kodlanan temaların birbirleriyle olan ilişkileri incelendiğinde, Pandemi nedeniyle evde yaşama geçişin finansal yaşamı etkilemesinin sonucu olarak mali destek alamayanların toplumsal fayda sunmakta zorlandığını göstermiştir. Pandemi süresince kadın kooperatiflerine yönelik finansal destekler ve dayanışma ağları oluşturulmalı, toplumda farkındalıkları arttırılmalıdır.
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak that spread rapidly across the world, many individuals and institutions have been greatly affected at the national, regional, sectoral, and global levels. As in all areas of society, the COVID-19 pandemic has also adversely affected women’s cooperatives, which produce value-added products through their own efforts, contributing to both themselves and society. For this reason, most women’s cooperatives have had to suspend and even stop their activities. In this context, the aim of this study is to reveal how and to what extent women’s cooperatives have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The limited number of studies on women’s cooperatives in Turkey and the lack of studies addressing the effects of the pandemic on women’s cooperatives reveal the importance of this study
Accordingly, semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine participants from eight women’s cooperatives in the Turkish provinces of Antalya, Burdur, and Isparta, all of which are located in the Western Mediterranean. During the interview, the following four questions were asked to the members of the women’s cooperatives: “How has the pandemic affected your daily life, how has the pandemic affected your financial status, has your cooperative received any support during the pandemic, and what kind of adverse effects or contributions do you think your cooperative has made in this process?” The data obtained from the interviews were analyzed in MAXQDA 2020, a qualitative analysis program. Due to the pandemic, interviews were carried out by contacting the participants on the phone and social media.
As a result of the study, four themes were formed under the headings of social relations, financial life, financial support, and social benefit as well as eight subcodes comprised of living at home, solidarity, payments to the treasury, accounting payments, equipment support, Ministry of Commerce, face mask production, and social contribution; these were formed using the coding method in line with the answers the nine female participants gave to the four questions within the scope of study. As a result of the coding that was performed through qualitative analysis, expressions were used that correspond with the themes. In this context, the most important finding obtained from the study is that the pandemic has most affected the financial lives of the members involved in the women’s cooperatives. In this process, most women’s cooperatives were unable to carry out their production activities, and women’s cooperatives with a limited production capacity expressed being unable to bring their products to consumers. However, some cooperatives took advantage of the process and were able to produce various healthy and dry foods based on consumers’ requests. During the interviews, the women were additionally determined to have suffered from psychological distress, especially due to the lack of a social life. the transition to living at home as a result of the pandemic was also concluded to have weakened social relations and to have affected product sales due to the cooperatives being unable to establish relations with consumers.
In line with the answers the participants gave to the questions contained within the scope of the study, a MAXMap based on a code co-occurrence model was obtained in MAXQDA in order to determine the relationships the themes have with one another. When examining the relations the coded themes have with one another, those who were unable to receive financial support as a result of the transition to living at home due to the pandemic were determined to have had their financial lives impacted and to have had difficulty accessing social benefits. At the same time, a visualization was made regarding which category was mentioned more frequently in terms of the answers the participants gave to the questions, and a code cloud was created showing the frequencies of the categories and their sub-categories. As a result, the study has revealed the majority of the answers the participants gave to the questions frequently involved the theme of financial life.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic is found to have adversely affected the social and economic lives of the members in women’s cooperatives. Support for women’s cooperatives should be increased in order to compensate their losses during or after the pandemic, and social awareness regarding the problems they face should be increased. Supplying the necessary equipment for women’s cooperatives that have taken risks during the pandemic and strove to deliver healthy and safe foods to society should be facilitated, and they should be provided with financial and business support.
This study is thought to contribute to the limited literature and will be extremely useful for other studies that will be conducted. Studies to be conducted in the academic world during the pandemic should obviously raise awareness toward women’s cooperatives, the number of which has increased in recent years in particular.