Gender Sensitization in Greening the National Industry – Training Workshop in Azerbaijan
In the context of gender mainstreaming within the EU-funded programme, EU4Environment Action, UNIDO organized an online training on gender sensitization for project staff and key stakeholders in Azerbaijan. The activity is part of the work performed by UNIDO in implementing Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) and Circular Economy in the Eastern Partner (EaP) countries. Similar training workshops have already been conducted in other EaP countries.
The training workshop took place on 11 and 12 May 2022, 10:00 – 13:50 (Baku time), and gathered the NIP staff in Azerbaijan, representatives of key stakeholders identified by the national coordinator (government agencies, NGOs, think tanks, industrial associations, private companies) and other entities which are most critical in the successful implementation of greening the industry of the country.
A recording of the workshop was made available as a training video for the wider audience, upon the completion of the course. The participants who attended the full duration of the workshop were provided with participation certificates.
Gender Sensitization in Azerbaijan
Gender equality is central to the mandate of UNIDO because the goals for sustainable industrial development depend on eliminating social and economic inequalities between men and women. As well, gender equality is about creating equal opportunities for women and men by enabling them to equally contribute economically, politically, socially and culturally, so that no one is prevented from reaching their full potential because of their gender.
In this regard, UNIDO provides countries with environmental management and technical assistance to promote the growth of green industry in developing countries and those with economies in transition by improving their industrial environmental performance and supporting the creation of industries delivering environmentally friendly goods and services. However, gender inequalities (e.g., limited access to key productive resources) mean that women are often not able to reach their full potential as they still experience negative consequences related to general poverty, food scarcity, or access to education and training. To address this, UNIDO works to close the gender gap, eliminate inequalities, and ensure that industrial development processes take into consideration the distinct needs and values of women and men.
With a population of 10 million people, and a gender parity of 49.4 % men and 50.6 % women, Azerbaijan has various legal and institutional mechanisms to ensure and promote gender equality across all sectors and at all levels. Some examples include Article 25 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan (equality for men and women before the law), a national body for gender equality within the State Committee for Family, Women, and Children Affairs, and many national development policies and economic strategies adopted over 2018-2020.
Since Azerbaijan’s goals are to foster sustainable economic conditions, UNIDO provides its support in terms of greening industrial production, and promoting gender balance in entrepreneurship and employment in industrial sectors. By supporting the government in stimulating the development of the green industrial sector, UNIDO contributes to promoting more opportunities for women in business in Azerbaijan.
According to the World Bank’s Global Enterprise Survey, women are less likely than men to participate in firms’ ownership and management. Azerbaijan follows this global trend, as women entrepreneurs make up 21.5 % of the total number of entrepreneurs. However, total number and share of women entrepreneurs is increasing. Namely, the period of 2012-2019 saw a remarkable spike in entrepreneurial activities among women, as the number of women entrepreneurs was three times more than in 2012. And like in other countries of the region, women in Azerbaijan face gender-specific obstacles that may prevent them from starting up or running their businesses or making careers in private sector. According to an assessment conducted in 2018, these gender-specific barriers are:
- Gender stereotypes as a “glass ceiling” in the private sector: women can become marginalized and overlooked for promotions to decision-making positions;
- Discrimination against newly married and pregnant women in private-sector hiring limits women’s access to private sector jobs
- Women entrepreneurs, compared to men, have limited access to ﬁnancial credit, technology and professional networks.
There is also a gender divide between the sectors that the businesses operate in. The sectors where most women entrepreneurs are concentrated are agriculture, forestry and fishing (31.5 % of all women entrepreneurs); trade, repair of transport means (23.1%); and other service activities (22.4 %). Women also report lacking knowledge, skills and access to productive resources. For example, in the agriculture sector, half of farm owners are women. However, women comprised only one-quarter among those operating farms that received credit or used equipment. Women farm operators were also less likely to be involved in processing and commercialization of products.
Gender divide in entrepreneurship is the specific area for UNIDO intervention. Targeted training opportunities such as the one UNIDO offers to entrepreneurs in the field of RECP and greener economy can contribute to boosting women’s involvement in business in Azerbaijan. These opportunities should be reflective of existing stereotypes on the roles of women and men, barriers in access to finance and assets that women face, and limitation associated with double burden with domestic and care work. Importantly, these stereotypes are also widely shared by women, not only by men.
 Asian Development Bank. Azerbaijan Country Gender Assessment, 2019, p. xii.
 Ibid, p. 143.
 UNDP Azerbaijan. New Gender Assessment study calls for greater participation of women in the private sector, 2018.
 UN Women Georgia and UNDP Azerbaijan. Towards Equality in Business. Putting Gender Equality at the Heart of Business Processes in Azerbaijan, 2019, p. 9.
 UNDP Azerbaijan, Women in the private sector in Azerbaijan: opportunities and challenges, 2018, http://www.az.undp.org/content/azerbaijan/en/home/library/UNDP-AZE-Gender-Assessment-report.html
 Asian Development Bank. Azerbaijan Country Gender Assessment, 2019, p. 24.