CAREC member countries face common challenges to improving gender equality and women’s empowerment. There is a systemic gender gap in labor force participation, with disparities in employment rates, pay scales, and quality of employment. There are also challenges in implementing national policies on flexible working arrangements, parental leave, and equal pay.

To address this, the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Gender Strategy 2030 was endorsed at the 19th MC in 2020. The strategy promotes women’s empowerment by ensuring regional projects address women’s needs and provide equal access to benefits and opportunities.  The CAREC Gender Strategy 2030 complements CAREC 2030, providing strategic guidelines for mainstreaming gender into CAREC’s five operational clusters: (i) economic and financial stability; (ii) trade, tourism, and economic corridors; (iii) infrastructure and economic connectivity; (iv)  agriculture and water; and (v)  human development.

Further, the CAREC Secretariat is currently implementing a technical assistance project to enhance regional mechanisms that promote gender equality in the CAREC program operations.