Number of WEPs companies in Georgia reaches 26

Date: Monday, December 10, 2018

The 2018 Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) annual event “Business Leadership for Women’s Empowerment in Georgia” gathered more than 100 representatives of the private sector to discuss promising practices from implementing the WEPs, empowering women and promoting gender equality in Georgia.

At the 2018 WEPs event in Georgia, new companies joined the global WEPs movement
At the WEPs event in Georgia, new companies joined the global WEPs movement; Photo: Zviad Rostiashvili

In 2016, the first companies that joined the WEPs and developed action plans included Adjara Group Hospitality, microfinance institution Crystal, Georgian American University, communications company GEPRA and construction company m2. Since then, the companies have focused mainly on removing gender-based discrimination from the workplace by providing trainings, including on sexual harassment; revising job descriptions and advertisements from a gender perspective; and providing employment to survivors of domestic violence.

At the event’s opening, Kerstin Agneta Wahlberg, Advisor at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shared updates on Norway’s gender equality policy and the Ministry’s rationale for supporting private sector action for gender equality.

During the panel discussion, several companies that had joined the WEPs movement in late 2017 and 2018 shared their first experiences and plans for advancing gender equality. The Analysis and Consulting Team (ACT) Georgia, for example, established a daycare room for employees with young children.

Rusudan Telia, CEO of ACT Georgia, shared her observations about the benefits of the initiative: “It has increased the commitment, loyalty and motivation of our employees.”

Seven new companies joined the WEPs movement during the event: Biltmore, Funicular Restaurant, Georgian Post, Insurance Company Alpha, Marriott, West Invest and Zarapxana. By committing to the WEPs implementation, the companies joined the 19 companies in Georgia and more than 2,000 companies worldwide.

Held on International Human Rights Day, the event attracted about 120 people mostly from the private sector, including from Armenia and Azerbaijan. The increasing interest in the WEPs is aligned with the global evolution of corporate attitudes towards human rights. UN Women Country Representative Erika Kvapilova highlighted this progress: “Some 10 years ago, many people would have thought it is a coincidence to have a business leaders’ gathering on this specific date in Georgia. Now, with the increased awareness on the linkages between business and women’s rights, having this event on Human Rights Day makes perfect sense.”

The event was held under the UN Women project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia” (JAWE) supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project’s work on the WEPs is implemented in collaboration with the Civil Development Agency (CiDA).