Expand women-led businesses and support women’s access to innovation to help reduce poverty in member countries of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program, participants heard at a key gathering of leaders and experts in the region this week.
At the inaugural meeting of the CAREC Regional Gender Expert Group (RGEG), Asian Development Bank (ADB) Central and West Asia Director for Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Lyaziza Sabyrova said that despite high economic activity rates and education in most CAREC countries, women tend to have low-paid informal jobs and a smaller share of businesses are registered in women’s names.
“Improving gender equality by expanding economic opportunities for women has many positive impacts on individuals, women, as well as men, their families, communities, and societies at large. By creating new jobs for women, promoting entrepreneurship, expanding access to innovation, and increasing productivity of women-led businesses, gender equality can help reduce poverty, improve quality of life, and contribute to more inclusive societies,” said Ms. Sabyrova.
“The CAREC Gender Strategy 2030 has been designed with the vision of ‘inclusion, empowerment, and resilience for all.’ It reflects the commitment of CAREC member countries to improve the wellbeing of women through collective action,” she said. “The Regional Gender Expert Group is an important step to realizing this vision, and provides a mechanism for countries to work together to realize their aspirations for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.”
The CAREC Secretariat held the hybrid inaugural launch of the Regional Gender Expert Group on 9 and 10 August in Istanbul, Türkiye with some participants joining online. The Group acts as an advisory and consultative body for the implementation of the CAREC Gender Strategy endorsed by member countries in 2020.
Inclusion, Empowerment, and Resilience for All: A CAREC Forum on Women Economic Empowerment was held on the second day of the meeting. It brought together CAREC member governments, development partners, civil society organizations, the private sector, and other regional stakeholders. Women leaders shared their journeys and a panel discussed best practices in pursuing women’s empowerment in finance, agriculture and trade, labor, and social protection.
The CAREC Gender Strategy 2030 provides a regional approach to improving gender mainstreaming and strengthening the equal access of men and women to economic opportunities in the CAREC Program’s five operational clusters: economic and financial stability; trade, tourism, and economic corridors; infrastructure and economic connectivity; agriculture and water; and human development.
CAREC is a partnership of 11 countries and development partners working together to promote sustainable development through cooperation. Launched in 2001, the program proactively facilitates practical, results-based regional projects and policy initiatives to accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty in the region. ADB serves as the CAREC Secretariat.