Gender equality, protection of rights, and expanding economic opportunities for women - these are the priority areas of work for the UN Women dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. The organization’s special commission session will be held on the 12th of March in New York. This year’s theme is rural women and improvement of their life conditions. According to experts, this issue wasn’t raised by chance. Women who live in rural areas make up a quarter of the total population of the planet. However, they don’t always manage getting the access to entrepreneurship support instruments. The UN Women plans to change the situation. In this respect the Central Asian countries are making progress. The number of businesswomen is growing every year. For example, Kazakhstan pays a special attention to gender equality issues; women are involved in management of the 42 percent of the country’s enterprises.

ELAINE CONKIEVICH, UN WOMEN REPRESENTATIVE FOR KAZAKHSTAN:

 - We’re focusing this year on the outreach to rural women, to raise awareness and attention to their specific needs because their needs are very different from urban women. So, in particular, we include rural women as socially vulnerable group to improve their economic empowerment, and this we try to do through raising their legal literacy, their awareness, their access to financial products, their access to business services.

MUNKHTUYA ALTANGEREL, UNDP DEPUTY RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE:

 - We and the National Damu Fund give out loans with the 4% or less interest rate. We support women's entrepreneurship which is aimed at environmental sustainability. We have approximately 100 sustainable development projects.

Today women's business ideas are highly competitive. Foreign investors and financial institutes are interested in the projects. According to statistics, in recent years, the sustainable projects have found stronger support and betters access to financing.

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