Discussion Club of Women Entrepreneurs of Central Asia has been launched
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- The economic and social imperative of women's economic empowerment is obvious – greater gender equality promotes economic growth, which in turn leads to better development outcomes. Statistics show that women reinvest their income into their communities and families at a higher rate than men. By increasing wealth and opportunity for women, we greatly improve our communities for the better.
A McKinsey study estimated that increasing women's participation in the economy by 25% would increase GDP by 11%.
Analysis by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that if women and men around the world participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could end up growing by about 3-6%, resulting in increase in global economy by $2.5-5 trillion. Women entrepreneurs have enormous power to change the world. Closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship and encouraging the growth of women-owned businesses would unleash new ideas, services, and products into markets around the world.
Unfortunately, women entrepreneurs still face a tougher struggle than their male counterparts. Despite all the benefits they bring for their communities and the world, statistically women-led businesses are more vulnerable. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on women entrepreneurs, but it has also opened up new opportunities for businesses to go digital and adopt green technologies. Women are important agents of change, and harnessing their potential will be critical to a sustainable and inclusive economic and social recovery from the crisis.
On 3 December 2021, the inaugural meeting of the Discussion Club of Women Entrepreneurs of Central Asia was held in Tashkent under the auspices of the Central Asia Women Leaders Caucus. The event was organized by the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the United Nations Development Programme together with the Central Asian Program "Women in Business" of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development funded by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).
Discussion club was established to promote regular exchange of views and best practices in the field of women entrepreneurship, discuss topical issues of business development, regional trade, investment attraction, as well as establish business contacts between women entrepreneurs of Central Asia. The club is also aimed at mutual learning of innovative business models and support of the best practical solutions for the development of women entrepreneurship.
The event served as a platform for dialogue on the promotion of women entrepreneurship and regional cooperation in this area. In addition, representatives of the public agencies and the private sector discussed the conditions for creating and maintaining a favorable business environment for women. In particular, representatives of women's businesses shared their views and opinions on the impact of the legal environment on their daily activities and ways to address emerging issues.
Tanzila Narbaeva, Chairperson of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Chairperson of the Central Asia Women Leaders Caucus and other members of the Caucus, Mirjana Spoljarich Egger, UNDP Regional Director for Europe and CIS, Natalia Gherman, Head of UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, and Zsuzsanna Hargitai, EBRD Managing Director for Central Asia, delivered a speech at the opening of the inaugural meeting of the Discussion Club. Representatives of ministries and agencies of the countries of the region, diplomatic corps, business structures and associations, international organizations also took part in the meeting.
Mirjana Spoljarich Egger, UNDP Regional Director for Europe and CIS, underlined that the Discussion Club is an excellent initiative to examine priorities for championing women’s entrepreneurship in Central Asia, help identify pressing issues, and find joint solutions to them. "The Central Asian Women Leaders Caucus is our core partner in these efforts, and we will continue to count on the leadership of the Caucus members to drive this agenda in their respective countries," she stressed.
Tanzila Narbaeva, Chairperson of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Chairperson of the Central Asia Women Leaders Caucus, in her speech noted the importance of establishing the Discussion Club as the first regional platform in Central Asia, bringing together business women, representatives of governments and parliaments of the region, as well as international partners to exchange views, experiences and best practices in the field of women entrepreneurship, discuss current issues of business development, regional trade, investment attraction. "I am confident that open and constructive discussions with the participation of private and public sectors, international experts and partners will contribute to the development of measures to further improve the business environment and development of women entrepreneurship in our countries," she emphasized.
Within the panel sessions participants discussed national priorities for women's entrepreneurship in the region and the role of governments in promoting women's economic empowerment, creating an inclusive ecosystem approach to designing, implementing and monitoring support measures for women entrepreneurship, and the role of business organizations in actively engaging and supporting women-led micro, small and medium enterprises to recover from the pandemic crisis.
At the end of the meeting, members of the Caucus and participants of the Discussion Club agreed to regularly discuss and exchange views on the development and support of women entrepreneurship in the countries of the region. At the same time, the Regulation on the Discussion Club of Women Entrepreneurs of Central Asia has been approved.
The Central Asian Women Leaders Caucus is an informal coalition committed to strengthening the role of all women in promoting sustainable development and maintaining peace and security in the region. The Caucus was officially launched on 23 December 2020 at the first meeting of Central Asian women leaders organized by the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS. Five countries of the region – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – are represented in the Caucus.