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UNECE supports women’s economic empowerment in the area of trade

Many women-owned small businesses in Kyrgyzstan specialize in traditional crafts and ensure that know-how that has been passed on for generations – in particular in the textile and clothing industry – continues to be enjoyed by locals, tourists, and offered on international markets.

For women entrepreneurs to thrive, they need an enabling environment with enhanced opportunities for participation in international trade. UNECE aims at supporting the Kyrgyz government as it works towards this objective by developing policy recommendations and standards; organizing capacity-building workshops for national institutions to support inclusive policymaking; and offering training to women-owned business and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Progress in these areas will also support Kyrgyzstan to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

On 21 May 2018 in Bishkek, in cooperation with the Kyrgyz Economic University, UNECE organized a workshop on women economic empowerment. UNECE presented UN/CEFACT trade facilitation and regulatory cooperation initiatives, and projects promoting gender equality and women economic empowerment. They highlighted how vital it is to promote the participation of women in standard setting and processes related to the development and implementation of technical regulations to enhance sustainable development.  The benefits include achieving gender equality through supporting equal access to economic resources, financial services and technology, as well as equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in trade.  It has been proven that empowering women and girls has a multiplier effect, and helps drive economic growth and development.

During the workshop, Kyrgyz women entrepreneurs showcased their goods and crafts and shared their success stories. UN Women, the Italian Red Cross and Red Crescent and local NGOs also shared their projects in Kyrgyzstan, which are focused on providing training for women including those from vulnerable social groups.  The discussions with local entrepreneurs highlighted the challenges Kyrgyz women entrepreneurs face when setting up and developing their businesses.

They highlighted such priorities as providing access to financial and family support, supporting women in renting production premises, sharing knowledge on how to build and manage a business, and meeting needs for kindergartens and evening schools. Integrating gender considerations in trade regulations can facilitate equal access and economic opportunities for all.

To address the priorities identified at the workshop, UNECE recommended ensuring access to information about procedures, building social and economic networks for women, and improving cooperation with authorities of neighboring and third countries to reduce barriers for women in international trade activities. UNECE further stressed the need to include women in all standard-setting and normative processes, and increase the measurement and assessment of progress of women engagement.

For more information please consult: www.unece.org/womenenterpreneurship-kyrgyzstan-may2018.html