Think tank publishes recommendations on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the post-Soviet space
The Baku-based think tank, the Center for Economic and Social Development, researched aspects such as women’s participation in the labour force, economic empowerment, entrepreneurial activities, distribution in economic fields, and roles in society across 11 post-Soviet countries. The analysis suggested that more economic growth meant more female labour force in the economy.
The common challenges identified for all 11 countries included:
- National mentality factor and male dominance: Female activity in entrepreneurship is less frequent. The principle of the male-dominated culture, trends from the post-soviet era, and societal stereotypes affect this process.
- Lack of family support: in the realisation of female employment within the family restrictions are observed due to a conservative mentality. Some families limit the range of educational choices for girls to traditional vocations that bring a negative impact on their future career.
- Lack of financial means and difficulties in raising capital: In entrepreneurial activity, economic discrimination against women is observed. The use of financial means for women is restricted.
- Lack of business and technical knowledge, and lack of skills: Women’s access to emerging knowledge is restricted, showing the need for proper education and training. Women are engaged in less skilled and less knowledge-oriented sectors.
- The potential of women in rural areas remains largely unrecognised. This is partially influenced by the conservative mindset in some regions.
- Lack of proper education: High-quality entrepreneurial education at universities is a vital prerequisite to building an entrepreneurial culture among women.
- Lack of business networks: Gender-based social and business networks limit access to necessary resources.
Recommendations made to help eliminate the issues identified above were to:
- Conduct training and targeted awareness-raising campaigns for women and men respectively to receive the support of a family member and increase the spirit of entrepreneurship in women. This approach can have an informative role for them and have equal levels of understanding encouraging more female entrepreneurs. This training can include families in the upbringing the children so that they do not pose obstacles to children engaging in entrepreneurial activities.
- Establish entrepreneurial culture at universities and schools. Reinforcing knowledge-based entrepreneurial education since childhood starting from the kids’ entrepreneurship programmes can have a crucial impact on young generations where students can be motivated to create, innovate and take risks.
- Establish a women’s entrepreneurship fund which can scale up women’s access to financial sources. In addition, the provision of special discounts and concessional loans can support women to build financial capacity and receive the capital support they need.
- Ensure education and relevant scientific training opportunities on a sustainable basis for women, especially in the regions, increasing their ability to establish and pursue a business other than in the field of agriculture.
- Develop female rural entrepreneurship, improvement of market connectivity, provision of adequate infrastructural facilities, credit facilities, and vocational training can act to assist the process to bolster the capabilities of women in those areas.
- Draft special legislation regulating women’s entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan that could simplify business procedures. The application of the plans envisaged in the Strategic Roadmap should be accelerated.
- Design special programmes to support the work-life balance of women with children in order to encourage their active role in the economy.