4 December 2018 – Studies show that, if women were able to participate equally in the economy, global GDP could increase by 26 per cent – the equivalent of $12 trillion dollars – by 2025. But unfortunately only 50 per cent of women of working age, worldwide, are in the labour force – compared to 77 per cent of men. Findings of a recent gender assessment study announced today at Park Inn, Baku reveal major similarities with these global trends in Azerbaijan. Drawing upon the role of the private sector in advancing gender equality and women’s economic potential, the study specifically examines challenges and opportunities facing women in the private sector.
In Azerbaijan, the last 5 years have seen a remarkable spike of economic activities among women, nationwide, as the number of women entrepreneurs doubled in 2012-2017, reaching 143,000. Yet women still constitute a small portion of the national business community. Despite significant improvements in the legislative framework, healthcare and education systems over the last decades, progress towards gender equality in Azerbaijan faces a number of challenges. According to world statistics, women tend to be largely concentrated in informal and precarious employment, but they are paid on average 23 per cent less than men while carrying out at least 2.5 times more unpaid household and care work. Similarly, many of these challenges, specifically a sectoral and occupational gender segregation, the disproportionate distribution of unpaid domestic work and gender-based discrimination in the workplace exist in Azerbaijan.
The goal of the Gender Assessment study is to examine the factors influencing women’s participation in the private sector economy and to support the efforts of the national government, private sector actors and civil society organisations (CSOs) working to promote women’s economic empowerment and economic participation including formal employment. Its objectives are to identify and analyse gender-specific barriers that hinder women in pursuing business opportunities, securing decent jobs and building successful careers in the private sector. The study also examines gender-specific factors affecting the involvement of men in the private sector economy and explores factors, which facilitate the successful engagement of both women and men in private sector operations.
The Gender Assessment report was made possible due to support and expertise of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs (SCFWCA), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Women's Association for Rational Development (WARD) and the Embassy of Switzerland. The research mission received substantial financial assistance from Switzerland through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), from UNDP and UNFPA. The information partner of the findings launch event today was the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Azerbaijan.
Full report on the study findings is available under library resources of the UNDP Azerbaijan website.
The launch of the findings report that brought together over 150 representatives of the international community, the government of Azerbaijan, the private sector, civil society organisations and media has coincided with the inception of yet another project in support of women from low-income and socially excluded communities, which also derived from recommendations of the Gender Assessment study. The new project entitled ‘Women Economic Empowerment in South Caucasus’ is operated regionally by UN Women. In Azerbaijan, the project will be carried out by UNDP in partnership with the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Austrian Development Agency (ADA).
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Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst