Image: UNDP Uzbekistan

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively affected all sectors of life, including the socio-economic sphere. This, in turn, led to the loss of sources of income and remittances, and many people lost their permanent jobs. Women were among the most affected vulnerable groups of the population.

The International Labor Organization estimates that about 114 million people lost their jobs in 2020. At the same time, women suffered more from job loss compared with men: if 5% of women lost their jobs, among men it was 3.9%. Throughout the crisis, women in all regions of the world were at more risk of becoming economically inactive than men.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently noted that during the pandemic, women suffered more in the labor market than men. “Women are 24 per cent more vulnerable to losing their jobs and suffering steeper falls in income. The gender pay gap, already high, has widened, including in the health sector”, says the head of the United Nations.

Due to the pandemic outbreak in Uzbekistan, the number of employed people has also decreased in many sectors of the economy. In January-July 2020, unemployment rose to 13.2%, for the same period in 2019 this figure was 9.1%. The unemployment rate among youth was 20.1%, among women 17.4%.

On March 25, a launching ceremony of the projects aimed at increasing the employment of women and youth by supporting women's entrepreneurship and supporting the government's efforts to mitigate the consequences of the crisis took place in Syrdarya region. The event was attended by representatives of UNDP, the Ministry for Support of Mahalla and Family, the Canadian Embassy in Tashkent, and beneficiaries.

Within the framework of the joint project "Empowering women to participate in public administration and socio-economic life" of the United Nations Development Program and the Ministry for Support of Mahalla and Family, women entrepreneurs in Syrdarya region were provided with the necessary industrial and specialised equipment, as well as inventory free of charge.

Women entrepreneurs received industrial sewing machines, special furniture and equipment for organizing a sewing workshop, beauty salon, bakery and pasta production. Also, a Vocational Training Center was launched in the region.

This became possible thanks to the financial support of the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives: more than 100 new jobs were created, over 90 women and youth have been employed.

Also, at the Craft Training Center 250 women received trainings and improved their skills in clothing design, sewing, baking and other areas. Over the next 6 months, the center is expected to train more than 1,500 unemployed women to acquire new skills that are in demand in the market.

The women who have completed trainings will receive support in their further job-seeking, which will help to increase employment and create sources of income.

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