The top 3 sectors of the economy where the highest proportion of women are healthcare and education (72%), provision of food and accommodation services (64%), finance (57%).

A key event in the field of women’s entrepreneurship, the “Women in business” Forum, was held in Almaty. The speakers were female leaders from different industries. The organizer was the Council of Businesswomen of the Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Almaty.

At the first panel session of the forum, the prospects for restoring entrepreneurship after crisis situations and gender aspects of the economy were discussed. According to the Chairman of the Council of Businesswomen of the “Atameken” National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Lyazzat Ramazanova, the January events require rethinking and rebuilding approaches to the labor market: business will not be able to independently provide decent earnings to people with low incomes and the experience of Almaty has clearly shown this. Also, according to her, despite the reforms carried out, Kazakhstan cannot stop the course of reducing gender inequality. In the global ranking of “Women, Business and the Law”, Uzbekistan is already ahead of our country (70.6 points against 69.4).

“The expansion of women’s participation in business, especially at the management level of large companies, should remain one of the priorities. It is also important to ensure the involvement of women from rural districts in small business. Since last year, the National Commission for Women’s Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy under the President, together with Atameken and the Ministry of National Economy, have launched a project - Support Centers for Women’s Entrepreneurship, which will be opened in each region. But in the future we will open such Centers at the district level,” Lyazzat Ramazanova said


According to the US Consul General in Almaty, Caroline Savage, both the January tragedy and the COVID-19 pandemic undermined business development. At the same time, she believes that crises can inspire entrepreneurs to recognize new opportunities, be creative and build new businesses.

“The active participation of women in the economy is a key factor in the success of societies and economies. Research in this area clearly shows that when women prosper, countries prosper. We also see that the number of women entrepreneurs is increasing, as well as their importance in the development of the economy is growing. They become its driving force, so we think it is important to support and promote this,” Caroline Savage says about the importance of supporting the initiatives of women entrepreneurs

Over the past five years, including the pandemic years, there has been significant progress in the representation of women in business and company management. For example, the share of women in top management has increased from 25% to 31%, which is a significant achievement for a fairly short period. Yelena Bakhmutova, the Chairman of the AFC RK Council, spoke about the gender aspect of the labor market and the prospects for economic recovery.

“If we move from the general global trends to the situation here, it should be noted that among the able-bodied population, women make up 7 million people, which is 350 thousand more than men. At the same time, the proportion of women employed full-time is 42.6% in general, 31.6% in industry and 50.5% in the non-manufacturing sector. Women are mainly employed in the service sector (76.5%), 11.8% in agriculture and 11.7% in industry and construction.”, - says Yelena Bakhmutova


In terms of participation in the ownership and management of companies, Kazakhstan is in a good position. In particular, women have a stake in more than 30% of companies, and in the ownership of 24% of companies, women make up the majority. The heads of 26% of companies are also women.

“If we look at the structure of women’s employment in the sectors of the economy of Kazakhstan, today women traditionally prevail in the non-productive sphere, the segments of which are in the top of the catalog of future professions. In particular, in healthcare and education, the share of women is 72%, in the provision of food and accommodation services – 64%, in finance – 57%, in the field of art, entertainment and recreation – 57%,” the Chairman of the AFK Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan shared with the forum participants

In 2021, with the support of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, the National Commission on Women’s Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy, Civil Society Organizations and the United Nations, the list of prohibited professions for women has been completely abolished in Kazakhstan, in connection with which it is expected to reduce the gender wage gap in the country, which is currently estimated by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, is 34%.

According to Mariya Dotsenko, Head of the “UN Women” country office in Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan is a leader in Central Asia in promoting the UN Principles in terms of women’s empowerment. This UN Global Initiative is a set of principles offering guidance to businesses on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, in the business market and in society. To date, 37 progressive Kazakhstani enterprises have signed the Principles of Empowerment.

The next speaker Umut Shayakhmetova, Chairman of the Board of Halyk Bank, spoke about trends and risks in the global and Kazakh economy. According to her estimates, the economic system of Almaty is an example of the economy that the whole of Kazakhstan should strive for: how to recover quickly, to mobilize, despite the challenges on a global, regional and urban scale.

“It is necessary to raise the share of small and medium-sized businesses. In the GRP of Almaty, 84% are SMEs in the segment of trade, service, and services. The city lives not at the expense of resources, but at the expense of business and a fairly good purchasing power of the population. In recent years, Almaty has developed not thanks to state support, but in spite of it. We, Almaty residents, do not ask for support, we ask not to interfere”, Umut Shayakhmetova believes

Also at the end of her speech, she noted the high role of women in the modern world.

“We see that all role models are represented at this forum - women entrepreneurs, women with an active position, women who create. I want to urge you all: spread these models, show, teach, educate our children, grandchildren, colleagues by your example, because a lot depends on you and me. Now it is very fashionable to talk about transformation, that you need to change. Yes, it is, but please don’t change your values. We all have to keep the most basic things - love, friendship, honesty, responsible attitude to society and to each other. Today, these absolutely elementary things, in my opinion, come to the fore. I would like to wish everyone prosperity in business once again, not to lose this spirit of entrepreneurship. I believe we will succeed”, the Chairman of the Board of Halyk Bank shared with the participants


In the second panel session of the forum, successful businesswomen shared their insights. Olga Pak, CEO of NGSolutions, spoke about how to create a sustainable business in the field of education. Aizada Ussenova shared her experience on how to scale the restaurant business to foreign countries. In addition to networking, the forum participants were waiting for master classes from various experts and the presentation of certificates.

On behalf of the Council of Businesswomen of the Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Almaty, we express our gratitude to the main sponsors of the Halyk Bank event, the NGS New Generation School, as well as for the informational support of Forbes Woman and Atameken Business Chanel.

Source: atameken.kz

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