In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entityfor Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the UN Charter, UN Women, among other issues, works for the:
- elimination of discrimination against women and girls;
- empowerment of women; and
- achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
UN Women’s work in Eastern Europe and Central Asia dates back to 1999, represented previously by UNIFEM, and covers 12 countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Women’s Economic Empowerment
Uzbekistan falls within the category of first-priority countries for UN-Women programme interventions, based on comparative analysis of the socio-economic situation, gender equality status, alignment with national priorities and a number of other important factors.
Based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UNIFEM (now UN Women) and Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan (WCU), since 2009, UN Women is supporting the efforts of the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan to enhance economic and social status of rural women in Uzbekistan through: a) mobilizing efforts of rural communities in addressing economic and social challenges for ensuring rights based and gender responsive development and increase in living standards of rural women; b) to enhance capacities of the Centres for Social and Legal Support in providing consultative and information assistance to rural women, ensuring access to economic and financial resources.
Expected outcomes of the project:
- Strengthening of the role and capacity of national mechanism for gender equality (Women’s Committee) to mobilize partnership efforts on promotion of the rights and interests of rural women.
- Gender experts, women’s organizations and NGO networks together promote ideas and initiatives on comprehensive support for women’s rights and interests fostering increase of women’s social and economic activity;
- Rural women have improved knowledge and enhanced skills for active participation in public and economic fields and for making contribution to increase livelihoods of families and community as a whole.
The project has achieved following results:
- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed between WCU and Microcredit Bank of Uzbekistan on contributing US 100 000 dollars (in local currency) to provide micro-credits to rural women’s self-help groups (SHGs).
- WCU project staff negotiated with Microcredit Bank the terms of provision of credits to rural women. The major result of the negotiation was reduction of the bank’s annual interest rate on the credits from 14% to 3%.
- A handbook on social mobilization and micro-crediting, adapted to Uzbekistan’s specificities, has been translated into Uzbek and has been used to train project personnel from the three pilot oblasts.
- In total, 284 women from rural areas of 3 pilot oblasts have been teamed up into 49 SHGs
○ The SHGs have been trained in business.
○ By May 2011, 178 rural women from three pilot oblasts received micro-credits
○ In Fergana Oblast 54 rural women from 8 SHGs;
○ In Kashkadarya Oblast - 46rural women from 8 SHGs;
○ In Karakalpakstan - 78 rural women from 13 SHGs;