Stories

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More than 600 women living in rural areas throughout Serbia are now better equipped to participate in the labour market thanks to a collaboration between UN Women, the European Union and civil society organizations to deliver skills and entrepreneurship training. Closing the employment gap between women and men in Serbia is crucial for achieving equality and training efforts like these are moving this important agenda forward.
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Working for the empowerment of women in Adana, a southern province of Türkiye, the Housewives Solidarity and Development Association (EVKAD) is such a CSO that benefits from a ‘small grant’ provided by UN Women. Now EVKAD can reach and empower more women than ever before, thanks to its improved technical, digital, and institutional capacity.
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UN Women and Yıldız Holding partner to support women’s entrepreneurship and inclusive supply chains across Europe and Central Asia. Within the framework of the new partnership on promoting gender-responsive investment and procurement, Yıldız Holding is committing over $4,000,000 in women entrepreneurs. The strategic collaboration will help create market opportunities for women-led businesses and accelerate women’s entrepreneurship within the region and beyond.
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On 1–3 June, Anita Bhatia, Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director visited Kazakhstan to participate in the ECOJER international congress at the invitation of the Government of Kazakhstan and held meetings with representatives of the civil and financial sectors in Almaty.
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Two years ago, to overcome unemployment, a difficult economic situation, and few income opportunities, five women's associations from rural parts of northern Serbia founded the Women's Divan network. They recently launched a common brand called Pletenia to market their products. Their work is supported by a UN Women programme aimed at promoting gender equality in Serbia, with funding from the European Union.
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Kyrgyzstan is one of the most remittance-dependent countries in the world, with a recent UN report revealing that 800,000 to 1 million of the country’s 6.6 million citizens work abroad on a regular basis. Around half are women (with estimates ranging from 40–53 per cent). To address outflow migration challenges at the community level, from 2019–2021, UN Women, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) jointly implemented a project funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund. It sought to change harmful gender stereotypes, especially among women migrants and their families, and support the participation of women and girls in inclusive community development. By helping women explore their strengths and realize their business ideas, the project created livelihood options in areas with high migration outflows. Three beneficiaries shared their stories with UN Women on how the project changed their lives for the better.
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Women entrepreneurs, investors, businesspeople and stakeholders from business and investment ecosystem across Europe and Central Asia joined the unique Investors Pitch Finale organized by UN Women and the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER) to address one of the biggest challenges women entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses: access to capital.
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25 women entrepreneurs from 9 countries across Europe and Central Asia joined a bootcamp through an intensive training programme to increase their capacities in attracting investors to their businesses. Organized jointly by UN Women and KAGİDER as part of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Initiative supported by Mary Kay, the bootcamp culminated in the “Investors Pitch Finale” on 29 April and brought women entrepreneurs together with investors to pitch their early-stage startups, minimum viable products and business blueprints to investors and businesspeople.
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Experts and practitioners from Western Balkans and Turkey increased their capacities and exchanged good practices on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) while attending a two phased Training of Trainers (ToT) . Both ToTs aimed to strengthen the pool of GRB experts in the region by equipping them with advanced knowledge and resources on GRB, as well as innovative adult learning skills.
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Karolina Stamenković has been the head of the non-governmental organization “Women's Ethno Centre - Lužnice Handicrafts” since its foundation in 2008, in Babusnica, one of the poorest municipalities in Serbia. Today, the organization has over 80 members who work to empower and motivate women to improve their economic status and engage actively in their communities. She spoke to UN Women about the challenges rural women are facing and the results of a project to support unemployed women’s economic activation through their inclusion in organic production in the Pirot District.
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In this interview, Gashi explains how the organization’s programme on the economic empowerment of survivors, implemented within the EU-funded regional programme on ending violence against women “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds,” provides women survivors of violence with the skills and means to provide for themselves and reintegrate independently into their communities.
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Splashes of red, pink and yellow flowers dot the vibrant hues of green in a greenhouse and gift shop nestled in the village of Colibași, in the southwestern part of the Republic of Moldova. The owner is a girl with Down syndrome who had always dreamed of opening her own business.
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Implementing Gender Responsive Budgeting requires a nexus of interventions therefore for the very first time supported by UN Women in Kosovo1, under the leadership of deputy mayors, over 30 local representatives as budget directors, financial and gender equality officers from 12 municipalities were gathered for a two-day workshop in March, 2022.
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The anniversary photo exhibition "UN-Kazakhstan: 30 years of cooperation to promote gender equality and empowerment of women" launched at the UN Headquarters in New York (USA). The photos demonstrate major gender equality achievements of the nation during 30 years of independence.
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15 micro and small women-owned businesses were supported through the BizUp programme, implemented by Foundation 787 and UN Women Bosnia and Herzegovina under an economic empowerment project supported by the United Kingdom. BizUp focuses on providing women entrepreneurs with tailor-made support and mentorship to increase their resilience and capacities in design, branding, management and other areas to enable them to develop and sustain their businesses.
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UN Women, in cooperation with the Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo1, launched the Informal Advocacy Task Force on Gender-Sensitive Standards for Occupational Safety, Health and Decent Work on 25 October 2021.
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To ensure that governments allocate spending to meet the needs of both women and men – also known as gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) – 15 high-level representatives gathered for a two-day workshop supported by UN Women in Kosovo in October, 2021.
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On 8 December, 22 civil society organizations (CSOs) from 17 provinces across Turkey came together for an awards ceremony with the participation of Asya Varbanova, UN Women Turkey Country Director, and Eleftheria Pertzinidou, Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Turkey.
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Spotlight Initiative regional programme for Central Asia and Afghanistan will identify potential Responsible Parties that will build capacity of a CSO on requirements for grant-making procedures and provide technical support to develop strategies for resource mobilization and use of alternative funding mechanisms.
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The public association the Rural Women's Business Network recently signed a Partner Agreement with the UN Women Project, Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through Decentralization Reform of Ukraine. This initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Under the new Partner Agreement , the Association will facilitate mobilization of women from 13 communities to participate in local governance across four regions: Volyn, Chernivtsi, Kherson and Sumy.