Armenian private sector learns about Women’s Empowerment Principles

Date: Friday, June 28, 2019

Providing women with social media marketing and web-design skills is one example of what private sector companies could do to help socially vulnerable women be more economically independent, an initiative being considered by the advertising company McCann.

Erika Kvapilova, UN Women Country Representative and Armenian private sector representatives are discussing the importance of gender equality
Erika Kvapilova, UN Women Country Representative and Armenian private sector representatives are discussing the importance of gender equality; Photo: UN Women

To boost private sector engagement in the empowerment of women, UN Women Georgia and UNDP Armenia organized a training on the Women’s Empowerment Principles - Equality Means Business (WEPs) for 23 business representatives - including CEOs, deputy CEOs, business development managers and human resources specialists - from 14 Armenia-based companies from such diverse sectors as marketing, hospitality, education and finance. The representatives gained insight into how to develop and implement gender-sensitive corporate policies and practices, improve women’s access to decent jobs and include more women-owned businesses in their supply chain.

Irina Chaltikyan, Deputy CEO of McCann Yerevan, said that she felt “encouraged to sign on to the WEPs and develop an action plan to make policies more gender responsive and to empower women in the community.”

Women’s economic empowerment is increasingly considered to be a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development for all, with the role of the private sector increasingly recognized in this regard. Removing the barriers to women’s full and equal participation in the economy is one of the main solutions for accelerating economic growth everywhere. A recent study found that in Armenia, women’s labour-force participation is 33 percentage points lower than that of men, and the vertical and horizontal segregation of the labour market clearly shows that women are overrepresented in lower-paying sectors and positions. Furthermore, 48 per cent of non-working women in Armenia cited family responsibilities as a reason for not working; indeed, family care responsibilities are the primary cause of the labour-force participation gap between women and men. Finally, when women do work, they make only 37 per cent of what men make for equal work.

UN Women Georgia in partnership with UNDP Armenia has launched partnerships with private companies in Armenia to promote gender equality. The goal of this initiative - “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus”, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Austrian Development Agency - is to attract at least 12 private sector partners to sign on to the WEPs by 2020, actively promote women’s empowerment and share examples of good practice with private businesses in Armenia and in the region.