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In Uzbekistan a growing number of women have successfully established small businesses with support from their families, are earning enough to maintain a living, and are strongly committed to their work.
The trend towards the increasing number and influence of businesswomen in Uzbekistan has been illustrated within the ‘Portrait of Women Entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan’ study, conducted by the joint UNDP/Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan’s project ‘Business Forum of Uzbekistan: Phase II’.
The survey conducted in the Tashkent and Djizak regions of Uzbekistan covered around 100 women entrepreneurs. Interviewed by project staff as part of the survey process, Ms. Marhamat Yuldasheva from the Djizak region mentioned the benefits her and many other women have gained from entering the marketplace. “Due to my business I have found my place in society,” she said.
“I now have an opportunity to help people around me, and have reached a professional level when I can advise people based on my experience. I can now pay for my children’s education, and can help to organise family events.”
Within the snapshot of a broader demographic analysed by the study, 36 per cent of the participating women had been in business for over 5 years, while 31 per cent had been in business for 3 to 5 years. One third of the surveyed women worked in the service field, 16 per cent in trade, and 16 per cent in manufacturing.
The study indicated that while the surveyed entrepreneurs often ran businesses in addition to maintaining their households, 80 per cent still dedicated 8 hours a day to their business. Other results showed that 67 per cent of the required financial support for initial business costs were provided by next of kin, indicating that the contributions and efforts made by women entrepreneurs are appreciated and supported by their families.
These positive trends demonstrate a broader movement towards gender equality in Uzbekistan’s marketplace, and it is important that necessary support and assistance is provided so that these existing businesses can thrive and new ones can be established.
The study results have shown that women entrepreneurs would benefit from improved banking services, and professional development courses focused on marketing, business management and legal subjects. Enhanced preschool services will mean mothers can dedicate additional time to their businesses, while benefits will also come from their greater inclusion in social services and trade unions.
The ‘Portrait of Women Entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan’ study was conducted from February to May, 2013. The study’s recommendations were presented to the Business Forum of Uzbekistan’s national partners on the 12th of June, 2013.