Responsible business continues to support women

Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Final event on Implementation of Women's Empowerment Principles - Signing Ceremony; Tbilisi, 2019. Photo: UN Women/Leli Blagonravova
Final event on Implementation of Women's Empowerment Principles - Signing Ceremony; Tbilisi, 2019. Photo: UN Women/Leli Blagonravova

The year 2020 and the pandemic made women’s advocacy initiatives and responsible business activities even more topical. COVID-19 posed a particular threat to gender equality and women’s rights; consequently, the role of companies that are signatories to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) has become critically important.

Notwithstanding the economic crisis, the characteristics of a developing country, and the difficulties and restrictions inflicted by the pandemic, the WEPs signatory companies launched numerous stimulating initiatives in Georgia. As a result, women received support tailored to their actual needs, both inside and outside the organizations.

One of the activities carried out by the companies was organizing trainings for women entrepreneurs, sharing their knowledge by developing learning modules tailored to women’s needs. The companies especially supported women living in different regions of Georgia in terms of their personal and professional development in areas dominated by men - for instance, by increasing the participation of women and girls in technology. The initiatives of Liberty Bank, Kant’s Academy, LAB and Business and Technology University have turned this pandemic crisis into an opportunity for hundreds of women to acquire education. “We went even further, and now we are working on tech start-ups for women, in order to promote their entrepreneurial activities,” says Nino Enukidze, the rector of Business and Technology University. “This initiative has a great future. We have developed lots of plans that will certainly be implemented.”

It is remarkable that the activities in support of women have been conducted in a variety of directions by the private sector. For instance, the company MBC supported women victims of violence by promptly responding to the increased risk of violations posed by the pandemic; helped women entrepreneurs with selling their products online; and TV broadcaster Mtavari dedicated a special programme to the increasing cases of femicide and the problem of violence against women during the pandemic. In addition, the programme drew particular attention to the coverage of women’s rights issues and contributed to the formation of public opinion. It is noteworthy that the WEPs signatory companies had also engaged in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign in 2020, issuing a special statement and publicizing a variety of information on gender-based violence against women via their own communication channels.

Among the initiatives realized in 2020 was the financial aid that the company Crystal allocated to women living in different regions of Georgia. They received small grants and were able to bring about beneficial changes for the development of their communities. In addition, women who run family hotels in Racha-Lechkhumi were offered free branding services within the framework of a project initiated by terabank. Temur Abuladze, terabank’s risk director, explains why the company launched the initiative: “People [who are] engaged in the banking sphere are well aware that women entrepreneurs are very responsible and reliable partners, which is why we have always been eager to support them. This initiative has laid the foundation for a completely new direction of corporate social responsibility in our bank.”

There are 82 companies that are signatories to the WEPs in Georgia, and 30 of them joined this movement in 2020. The very first steps have already been taken by the companies; however, this is just the beginning, and they plan to implement a number of other interesting initiatives.

Last year, the activities in support of the WEPs in Georgia were implemented with the financial aid of the Government of Norway in the framework of the project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia”.