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“Women’s economic inclusion is absolutely crucial” – UNIDO at Second Eurasian Women’s Forum

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – On the opening day of the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) organized an international expert session titled, “UNIDO: A Global Platform for the Development of Women's Entrepreneurship”. The event was held in cooperation with the OPORA RUSSIA Committee on Women Entrepreneurship Development, with financial support from the Government of the Russian Federation.

More than 200 participants from all over the world came together to share their experiences regarding the challenges and best practices for scaling up successful models for women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship. The event was attended by many high-level representatives from regional governments of the Russian Federation, as well as leaders from the Russian and international business community.

Fatou Haidara, UNIDO’s Managing Director on Corporate Management and Operations, noted in her opening speech that women’s economic inclusion is absolutely crucial for creating stable and prosperous societies: “Global gross domestic product could increase by more than 25 per cent by 2025 if women played the same role in labour markets as men. It is evident that inclusive and sustainable development cannot occur without women’s full participation.”

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Gulnaz Kadyrova, underlined the importance of UNIDO activities in the field of women’s economic empowerment. She stated that the unified efforts of UNIDO and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation lead to more comprehensive inclusion of women in the economy. Kadyrova stressed the importance of defining further concrete steps and projects aimed at supporting women’s entrepreneurship.

Galina Karelova, the Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, highlighted the rich and positive history of cooperation between UNIDO and the Russian Federation, and said that, with this second Eurasian Women’s Forum, a new chapter of cooperation has been initiated.

In a letter read out to the organizers and participants of the session, LI Yong, Director General of UNIDO, welcomed the fruitful cooperation between UNIDO and OPORA RUSSIA in the area of women’s entrepreneurship, and congratulated Veronika Peshkova, Member of the Expert Council of the OPORA Russia Committee on the Development of Women’s Entrepreneurship, on her new role as a UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador. (see Peshkova press release)

Jacek Cukrowski, Chief of UNIDO’s Europe and Central Asia Division, outlined UNIDO’s active work in the field of women’s economic empowerment, referring to the support for the creation of an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs and the promotion of partnerships that facilitate access to information, technology and markets for women.

Continued cooperation between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and UNIDO was formally pledged in a joint declaration signed by Haidara and Kadyrova. The declaration made a commitment to promote cooperation between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and UNIDO in various areas, including creative industries, initiatives for the application of e-commerce platforms, and the organization of global fora.

The UNIDO international expert session showcased UNIDO as a platform for the promotion and capacity-building of women entrepreneurs and proposed several action-oriented initiatives in support of women’s economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and leadership worldwide. One example is the development of a global women-leaders talent pool that will provide a platform for networking. By sharing experiences, leaders will be given new opportunities to build partnerships and implement business projects with an emphasis on inclusive and sustainable development. Additionally, it will raise public awareness of their projects and potentially attract additional investment and support from state institutions.

Other examples include the creation of an e-learning platform for women in business with courses to improve managerial and entrepreneurial skills; capacity building initiatives like the international conference, “Empowering Girls and Women in Digitalization and Industry 4.0 through the Power of Skills”, within the framework of the 45th WorldSkills Competition 2019 in Kazan, the Russian Federation; and a panel discussion on the topic of women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment on the margins of the second edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS) 2019 in Yekaterinburg, the Russian Federation.