Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus

What we do

Women’s economic empowerment is increasingly considered to be a prerequisite for realizing gender equality, strengthening women’s agency and achieving sustainable development for all. The goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to reduce inequalities and to “leave no one behind”. This will require (a) identifying groups who have been left behind; (b) understanding the causes behind their exclusion; and (c) developing and implementing strategies of inclusiveness.

In Armenia:

·     Women’s participation in the labour market is 33 percentage points lower than that of men.

·     Working women earn 37% less than men.

·     Women and men have almost equal rates of tertiary education, however almost 40% of women with at least a tertiary education do not participate in the labour force.

·     48% of unemployed women in Armenia, cited family responsibilities as a reason.

·     Women carry out almost 5 times more unpaid household work than men.

A persistent gender pay gap affects women in the region and according to the 2015-2016 Progress of the World’s Women report, the pay gap stands at 34 per cent in Armenia.

To address the mentioned challenges UNDP, jointly with UN Women Country Office in Georgia and in partnership with RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure(RA MTAI) implements the Armenian segment of the “Women’s Economic Empowerment in South Caucasus” program, with financial support from the Swiss Agency of Development and Cooperation and Austrian Development Agency.

The project supports:

-        Women, particularly the poor and socially excluded, to use skills, economic opportunities and relevant information to be self-employed and join the formal labour sector in Gegharkunik and Shirak Marzes of Armenia.

-       Implementation of adequate legislative and policy frameworks to enable women’s economic empowerment.

-       Government and public institutions to develop and deliver gender-responsive programmes, public services, strategies and plans for women’s economic empowerment.

Some results so far

-      120 vulnerable women from 11 enlarged municipalities of Shirak and Gegharkunik Marzes build their capacities on business development and the following relevant value chains and their processing. 

-      6 consolidated communities in Shirak and Gegharkunik regions have raised their awareness on gender-responsive and are committed to adopt gender-responsive budgets for 2020, for the first time in Armenia.

-      45 representatives of the private sector in Armenia have built their capacities on Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and several companies have committed to endorse and implement WEPs in their companies, also for the first time in Armenia.