Statement by Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative at the Roundtable “Perspectives for development of women entrepreneurship in Uzbekistan” organized by International Association of Business Women

February 7, 2023
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Assalomu aleykum hurmatli Makhmudova Gulnora khonim, hurmatli tadbir ishtirokchilari! (Dear Ms. Gulnora Makhmudova, dearest participants!)

I would like to use this chance and thank the organizers of the event – the International Business Women Association for our ongoing collaboration in the best interest of women of Uzbekistan.

It’s my pleasure to congratulate the Association’s becoming an International Association, and also with the new premises. We are all witnessing the Government’s increased attention to the Women entrepreneurship, and we believe that enhancement of the infrastructure & eco-system and supporting institutions, like IBWA, have vital role in promoting women entrepreneurship. And of course, I would say IBWA is the leading organization with good potential in this area.

Gender & women empowerment has always been at the core of our interventions. UNDP has been supporting women’s entrepreneurship & economic empowerment initiatives through and jointly with all other national institutions. Therefore, International Businesswomen Association has been our longstanding partner within several UNDP projects & initiatives.

Jointly with IBWA, UNDP has conducted several Women business mentorship programmes, that enabled many women acquired modern entrepreneurial skills. More than 120 women from Ferghana valley benefitted from the Women business mentorship programmes. For example, Oydina Akhmadalieva, participant in the mentorship program from Namangan has grown from a mentee-beginner to a mentor and currently works as the head of a fruit and vegetable processing enterprise, and also conducts mentoring activities in her region - Chartak district of Namangan region.

Last year only, we supported creation of new jobs and decent work opportunities for more than 3,4 thousand people, half of them were women, through various intervention programs which facilitate active labour market policies. Moreover, additional 5,4 thousand women were upskilled & improved their entrepreneurial & soft skills, e-commerce, IT & digital knowledge through our capacity building, short-term vocational training & skills development programs (WorldSkills programs in Monocenters, IT Park & other training institutions) throughout all regions of Uzbekistan.   

Though Uzbekistan achieved notable progress in closing gender gaps, women are still underrepresented in many spheres. Entrepreneurship is not an exception – the share of women entrepreneurs is currently about 25%. UNDP works to narrow down all kinds of gender gaps, particularly in economy.

Gender and women empowerment issues are multidimensional:

  • First of all, along with mainstreaming entrepreneurship support, skills building and other income-generating activities, we need to combat social norms, ensure women’s access to economic resources & welfare benefits, and remove legal and regulatory barriers that constrain women from full and free participation in the economy.
  • Second, reducing and redistributing women’s unpaid care burden, by investing in quality social care services, is fundamental to gender equality in the labour market and in business sector in particular. Currently, we have launched a new project that will specifically focus on the creation of decent work opportunities for women engaged in the care economy (through up-skilling and re-skilling, skills recognition, etc.) and promoting formalization of employment among the care economy workers, and support care entrepreneurship among women, through the angle of poverty reduction measures;
  • Third, we need to close the digital gender gaps.  A crucial pathway to women economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, today and in the future world of work, lies within IT sector and digital entrepreneurship. We are supporting women in IT sphere through various programmes and projects, including the targeted project on supporting the youth & women digital entrepreneurship. For instance, we have designed special Digital pulse platform to assess digitalization aptitude of MSMEs, which has already been used to conduct diagnostics of digital maturity level among 500 MSMEs, 140 of which are led by women. So far within the Digital entrepreneurship programme 1800 young women & girls from all regions were trained, while Future skills programme organized jointly with IT Park hosted more than 2,000 girls, who were trained on computer literacy, information technologies, digital and e-commerce services.

Let me conclude by saying that UNDP will continue working with IBWA and other national partners on these areas, and in general to ensure that women are not left behind and fully participate in economic life, particularly in business and creating new jobs.

I thank you all again and wish you every success.

E’tiboringiz uchun katta rahmat(Thank you for your attention)!