Together for women's empowerment: Kazakhstan and Mongolia sharing good practices

Oct 9, 2015

Kazakh delegation visiting a Mongolian female-run businesses in and around Ulaanbaatar Photo:UNDP Mongolia

Kazakhstan and Mongolia shared experiences and good practices in promoting women’s empowerment in public and private sectors. A group of 18 Kazakh women entrepreneurs, representatives of the National Commission for Women Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy, Ministry of National Economy, the Agency for Civil Service Affairs and Combating Corruption, and the JSC "Fund for Financial Support of Agriculture"; civil society leaders; and UNDP Kazakhstan staff visited Mongolia from 7 to 9 October 2015. The first woman-Kazakh General and Secretary of the National Comission, Ms. Saule Aitpaeva, headed the delegation.

The visit, facilitated jointly by UNDP Kazakhstan and UNDP Mongolia, had a busy schedule. Kazakh delegation met with Mr. Koblandinym Kabylbekov, the Kazakh Ambassador to Mongolia, and with the representatives of the Kazakh women's NGOs in Mongolia to discuss the ways of cooperation in work for women’s empowerment.

The international conference on women’s participation in public, private and civil sectors took place at the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mongolia on 7 October, 2015. The conference participants discussed the role of women as active participants in modernization of the state, promotion of women in business, the prospects of development of "green economy", how traditional crafts of Mongolia and Kazakhstan can serve as a factor of integration, and the countries’ participation in the international exhibition "EXPO-2017" in Astana, Kazakhstan.

“This is the first event which brought together women representatives of the two states. I am confident that in the future, women of Kazakhstan and Mongolia will be implementing joint projects and will be able to closely collaborate in the business, mining, trade and other fields,” noted M. Oyunchimeg Director from National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mongolia.

Women in Kazakhstan and in Mongolia play a crucial role in the public and private sectors, but face a number of challenges. In some regions of Kazakhstan, half of the enterprises are run by women, while 50% of the midlevel management of businesses are also held by women. However, while women constitute 55% of the civil service, there’s only one female minister out of 10 ministers.

Women’s representation on the decision making levels in the Cabinet and Public agencies in Mongolia is low, despite the fact that the Gender Equality Law stipulates at least 15-40% of women in the public leadership positions. In private sector, there are 38.9% of firms with female participation in ownership and 36.6% employing a female top manager. Although women account for significant part of the private sector in Mongolia, their access to finance is limited due to under-realization of their property rights and engagement largely in the informal sector.

During the study visits in and around Ulaanbaatar, the participants went to female-run businesses ranging from textile production to food processing to leather production. They also met with the leadership of the Association for Mongolian and Kazakh entrepreneurs. The visits enabled the participants from both countries to exchange valuable information, from how to ensure the best quality of leather products to the best ways of processing cashmere, which even led to forming business partnerships between the two parties.

Mongolia and Kazakhstan had the opportunity to learn from each other, build partnerships, share experiences and see the practical implications of women’s involvement and leadership in private and public sectors. Both counterparts agreed on the need to implement best practices for achieving gender equality in both public and private sectors.

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