RCC, UNDP to launch Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative

RCC, UNDP to launch Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative

TIRANA/SARAJEVO, December 10 (FENA) – The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will be launching an initiative, ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment: Areas for joint actions in the Western Balkans’, aiming to enhance collaboration among different stakeholders and underpin systemic change in addressing gender inequalities and co-designing initiatives on women’s economic empowerment.

The launch will take place on Friday, 11 December 2020, in an online format.

Forty percent of the total employed in the Western Balkans are women but more than 23% of them hold insecure jobs. Only 27.5% of business owners in the Western Balkans are women, and just 14.2% of companies’ top managers are female. The share of women in STEM occupations is 14% due to gender stereotypes, pay gaps and gender bias that prevent many girls in the region from choosing an education in STEM fields.

The main goal of the RCC and UNDP initiative is to encourage reforms that will foster women’s participation and leadership in the economy which would lead to reducing gender gaps and development of the region, including:

· Increase in women’s labor force participation and entrepreneurship could result in an increase in Western Balkan GDP by up to 20%

· Women’s leadership in politics and economy will boost innovation and growth

· Higher women’s representation equals higher quality of governance

· Higher number of women in companies’ top-management leads to sustained profitable growth

At the launch of this initiative, the RCC and UNDP will share trends and analyses on COVID-19 impacts on women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in the Western Balkans and discuss the way forward in a high-level panel with policymakers and experts, academia and civil society.

The event will be opened by Majlinda Bregu, Secretary-General, Regional Cooperation Council, Mirjana Špoljarić Egger, UNDP Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Marta Garcia Fidalgo, DG NEAR’s Equality Coordinator and European Commission Roma Policy Coordinator.