Many women in the South Caucasus are excluded from the economic system in their countries. They work in the home or in the informal economy and thus do not benefit from the protections and advantages of formal employment. Societies in the region remain highly patriarchal, and sexist stereotypes persist. Some laws are discriminatory, encouraging large pay gaps between men and women.
A more inclusive job market for women in the South Caucasus
In the three countries of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), many women face job market discrimination. In the absence of policy to create equal opportunities and jobs for women in the formal economy, women work unprotected in the informal sector. The Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus project seeks to promote women's economic empowerment to facilitate their equal access to employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
- National State Institute North
- United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
Women's economic empowerment is widely acknowledged as a key prerequisite for realizing gender equality, strengthening women's agency and contributing towards inclusive gorwth in the South Caucasus. However, all too often, adverse social norms, discriminatory laws and lack of legal protection, failure to recognize and redistribute unpaid work and care, and lack of access to various assets constrain women's abilities to find economic opportunities, including decent jobs on an equal footing with men. Moreover, educational segregation leads to gender pay gap, lower rates of women's economic engagement, and subsequent occupational segregation between men and women.
Despiste some progress made by all three countries in terms of reducing gender inequalities, a lot remains to be accomplished to foster full and equal participation of women in society and in the economy.
|Objectives||Women, particularly poor and socially excluded, in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are economically empowered and participate in relevant decision-making processes.|
- Council of Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the Prime Minister's Office
- The Ministries of Territorial Administration and Development, Agriculture, and of Labour and Social Issues
- Local governments of 11 municipalities across the two regions: Gegharkunik (Chambarak, Geghamasar, Shoghakat, Vardenis) and Shirak (Akhuryan, Amasia, Ani, Arpi, Ashotsk, Marmashen, Sarapat)
- the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs
- Authorities of Baku-Khazar, Gusar and Sabirabad distrcits
- Parliamentary Gender Equality Council
- The Inter-Agency Commission for Gender Equalitiy, Ending Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in the Prime Minister's Office
-The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development; Agricultural Projects Management Agency and Agricultural Cooperatives Development; Agency under the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture; Social Service Agency under the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs
-Local governments of municipalities across the three regions : Kakheti (Akhmeta, Lagodekhi, Telavi), Kvemo Kartli (Volnisi, Marneuli, Tetritskaro) ans Samtskhe-Javakheti (Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe, Aspindza)
-Outcome 1 : Women, particularly poor and socially excluded, use skills, economic opportunities, and relevant information to be self-employed and/or to join formal labour sector in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
-Outcome 2: Armenia and Georgia implement adequate legislative and policiy frameworks to enable women's economic empowerment.
-Outcome 3: Government and public institutions are stengthenend to develop and deliver gender-reponsive programs, public services, strategies and plans for women's economic empowerment in Armenia and Georgia.
- Approx. 2.4 million women's economic empowerment is fostered through conductive legislative and policy frameworks in Armenia and Georgia.
- In the South Caucasus, 1'660 women with strengthened capacities and skills are ready to be gainfully selkf-employed and/or to join formal labour sector.
- Approx. 10 advocacy initiatives and meetings are initated by the women beneficiaries to voice their socio-economic concerns iwth relevant decision-makers in Armenia and Georgia.
- 4 government- and public institutions with adopted and institutionalized internal gender mainstreaming tools and policies, and with trainings on gender equality and women's empowerment in place for their employees in Armenia and Georgia.
-30% of the employees in the 4 targeted instutions of Armenia and Georgia with stregthened knowledge and skills to mainstream gender in programs, services and plans.
-20% increase in budget allocations by target municipalities for social infrastructures and services as a result of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB)
Results from previous phases:
- Missing gender-related date were obtained by means of commissioning four studies.
- Exchanges between governmental, development, civil society and business partners took place in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
- Working modalities with all the involved stakeholders (e.g UNDP offices in Armenia and Azerbaijan) were clarified. Organization, steering and monitoring arrangments were established.
- Preliminary selection of possible partner civil society organizations, local NGOs and private companies took place in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Foreign state institution
United Nations Organization (UNO)
SDC will contribute to this regional WEE project to be implemented by UNW. In Armenia and Azerbaijan, UN Women will contract UNDP for the project implementation by means of an "UN Agency to UN Agency Contribution Agreement", Whereby UNDP will report to UNW which, in turn, will report to the SDC. The Austrain Development Agency (ADA) will join the project as a co-donor through a delagated cooperation to SDC.
|Coordination with other projects and actors||The project will be coordinated with SDC's rural development and local governance projects in Georgia and Armenia, and with various programs in the South Caucasus supported by key international actors (e.g EU and Norway) in area of Women's Economic Empowerment.|
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 3'763'327 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 3'488'971|
|Project phases||Phase 1 01.11.2017 - 31.07.2021 (Current phase)|
Women in agriculture
In the three countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), 35% of women are excluded from the job market, especially in rural areas. Many women do work in agriculture, but mainly in informal family arrangements, which means they do not have access to an income, which would lead to their empowerment.
Laws favourable to women’s empowerment
The first phase of the project focuses on 1,660 women especially disadvantaged and vulnerable in 23 small towns. The main goal is to empower women by informing them of their rights, by enabling them to develop a network and by improving their entrepreneurial skills. Empowering women will lead to their inclusion in the formal economy through paid jobs or self-employment. Furthermore, in Armenia and Georgia there is a favourable outlook for development within institutions and in the normative framework. The project therefore advocates for the establishment of legislation to increase gender equality and for women’s participation in establishing the required legislation. It also encourages the two states to ratify the international conventions established by the International Labour Office, which would indirectly benefit 2.4 million women. Moreover, the project is in synergy with other SDC projects on rural development and decentralisation in Armenia and Georgia. For example, a collaboration with the Women’s Rooms (hubs created by women in rural areas) in these two countries will help women to build their networks and to share advice and information.
It is expected that particularly disadvantaged and vulnerable women will use their new skills and the opportunities created by the economic system to gain access to the employment market. Private-sector companies will be encouraged to apply international standards to improve women's access to paid employment. Armenia and Georgia will also establish legislative frameworks to ensure women’s economic empowerment. Decision-makers in governments and public institutions will subsequently receive training to develop gender-equality strategies guaranteeing women’s labour market inclusion and to monitor implementation to ensure the measures’ sustainability.
The project is run by UN Women and the UNDP in partnership with the countries’ national gender equality agencies.