Economic empowerment

Photo: UN Women/Janarbek Amankulov

Investing in women’s economic empowerment leads to greater equality, poverty reduction and economic growth. Women make enormous economic contributions to businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid work at home.

Throughout Central Asia, women are disproportionately affected by poverty, gender discrimination, persistent wage gaps between women and men, exploitation and limited opportunities for career advancement. Women, especially the poorest and most excluded, struggle in insecure, low-wage jobs that make it difficult to sustain themselves and their families. Limited economic opportunities for women limit economic potential for all.

We work to increase Central Asian women’s incomes and economic rights including their right to own land, to improve social protection for women informal workers and to raise gender equality accountability.

To do this, the UN Women Multi-Country Office supports initiatives that:

  • Secure the rights of economically vulnerable women in Central Asia, ranging from domestic workers to labour migrants (click here for Regional Migration Programme for Central Asia);
  • Work on access to quality information and services in employment, social protection, land and property rights;
  • Promote civic registration in Tajikistan;
  • Provide technical assistance that strengthens our social partners’ ability to monitor enforcement of laws and policies to protect women’s labour and employment rights.

UN Women in Action

  • Since 2014, over 3,000 women in Tajikistan have formed self-help groups thanks to the UN Women project, Empowering Abandoned Women from Migrants’ Families, funded by the Government of Norway. The project targets vulnerable women in the Rasht Valley and Khatlon regions, particularly the growing number of women abandoned by a mass outflow of male labour migrants.
    The self-help groups help women develop job or small business skills and access essential legal and financial services. To date, 1,283 women from migrant families received free legal aid and mass media campaigns raised 4,798 women’s awareness of women’s rights.
  • In Tajikistan’s Sughd Province, UN Women partnered with the Committee for Family and Women’s Affairs to introduce District Task Forces to provide women with free legal counselling on land and property rights. The model worked so well that the national Government expanded it across the country—nearly 20,300 women used the services in 2014 and 2015. In addition, 18 districts launched One Stop Shops that link people to public services and local officials. This enables at least 500 families annually to solve their complex issues through simplified access to around 12 public services performing ‘as one’ and helping vulnerable population.
    In addition, Women’s Watch Groups, developed jointly by UN Women and women’s advocates, have begun to conduct household monitoring and proactively seek out the most vulnerable citizens, the vast majority of whom are women and girls.
  • The Promotion of Women’s Economic Rights in Uzbekistan project promoted vulnerable rural women’s economic independence via self-help groups to jointly address lack of access to financial resources and provide economic knowledge in financial management, business planning and credit systems.