UN Women calls for Kazakhstan business to empower women in the private sector

Date: Friday, September 20, 2019

Participants of the UN Women-KASE event, Sept. 19, 2019. Photo: UN Women/Veronika Polbina
Participants of the UN Women-KASE event, Sept. 19, 2019. Photo: UN Women/Veronika Polbina 

On 19 September 2019, business representatives from Kazakhstan engaged in a discussion about the role and opportunities within the private sector for advancing women, and how the private sector can also help implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Around 20 companies listed on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) learnt about best practices and experiences from peers, whose companies had signed-up to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). A joint initiative between UN Women and the UN Global Compact, the set of seven WEP principles offers guidance for business on how to galvanize their shareholders and stakeholders to drive change for gender equality.

Executive managers from KAZPOST, KMF and Schneider Electric shared their stories about the business benefits of promoting women into decision-making roles, ensuring equal pay, access to resources, and professional development, creating safe working environments, and taking into account women’s needs in the communities where they do business.

“The role of the private sector in ensuring women’s full participation in all spheres of life is very important,” said Elaine Conkievich, UN Women Representative in Kazakhstan. “Further progress mostly depends on how we run businesses and incorporate the principles of equality every day, so that they become part of our system of values and practices,” she said.

The event was a joint initiative between the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) and UN Women. It was part of KASE’s commitments under the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative – a United Nations facilitated peer-to-peer learning platform aimed at enhancing corporate transparency, social responsibility and contributing to sustainable development. KASE also committed to promoting the principles of sustainable development through the introduction of Environmental, Social and Governance reporting. This is a requirement for all listed companies and KASE members.  

“We need to strive for gender equality and women’s empowerment in order to create a more stable and balanced business environment and society,” stated Nataliya Khoroshevskaya, Deputy Chair of KASE. “This will help bring Kazakhstan closer to its ultimate development goal – being counted among the thirty most developed countries of the world,” she said.

UN Women encouraged the participating companies to sign the Women`s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) to help empower women of Kazakhstan in the workplace, marketplace and in society.