Gendering platform co-operativism: the rise of women-owned rider co-operatives in Brazil and Spain
This article analyses the process of gendering platform co-operativism through a case study of two rider co-operatives owned and managed by women: Señoritas Courier in São Paulo, Brazil and Les Mercedes in Barcelona, Spain. While both co-operatives arose in response to similar concerns and have adopted a common approach, one is located in the global South, while the other is in the global North. This allows for a comparison of how prefigurative politics have shaped the terms of platform co-operativism, as well as an analysis of the transnational character of worker struggle. The article is particularly interested in: What was the impetus for the formation of the two women-owned platform co-operatives? How have the co-operatives sought to redefine the relationship between gender, work, and technologies? The paper argues that the expansion of women-owned platform co-operatives constitutes an opportunity to advance a more inclusive, feminist digital economy. Members see co-operatives as an important dimension of collective organisation and the articulation between paid and unpaid care work. Both co-operatives strive to create a safe environment which provides support in work and motherhood. However, platform co-operatives have struggled to expand amidst a highly competitive market. The article concludes with a discussion on the need for public policies that can support platform co-operativism among women delivery workers.
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