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Women's Economic Empowerment in the Western Balkans

Women's workforce participation in general and their share of business owners is significantly lower than the EU average. What are the priority areas for improvement?

Almost two-thirds of working-age women in the Western Balkans are either unemployed or outside the labour force. Women’s labour participation rate is about seven per cent lower than the EU average, with only little improvement in the past decade. 

Only 27.5% of business owners in the Western Balkans and Turkey are women, and they hold just 14.2% of the top management positions in companies, according to the OSCE SME Policy Index.

To improve the situation, UNDP & Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) have published a paper on women’s economic empowerment in the Western Balkans identifying priority Areas for Joint Action.

They are based among others on:

  • 👥 reinforcing partnerships of national, regional, international stakeholders

  • 🔄 a two-way approach and peer learning, merging good practices from the Western Balkans with the most progressive EU policies on gender equality

  • 📢 a systemic approach targeting social and institutional change

  • 🦸‍♀️ initiate a leadership programme for young women 

  • 🤝 regional cooperation

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