First Quarter Newsletter  January-March 2017
News Highlights
Celebrating International Women's Day

As the world celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March 2017, countries across Europe and Central Asia joined UN Women’s call to Step It Up for Gender Equality and make the work place work for women. An array of high-visibility events included a performance art piece at a busy shopping mall in Skopje that featured women doing traditional chores, drawing attention to unpaid care work. In Kazakhstan, the “Yes She Can” photo exhibit hung thought-provoking photos of women in male-dominated jobs in places popular with young people. The municipality of Tirana signed the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life, while in Serbia, a lively public debate on women’s double work burden received widespread media coverage. Read More.
UN Women championed the theme of the day, “Women in the World of Work,” with a special regional In Focus webpage, which highlighted key data, diverse perspectives and compelling stories of the difference women make in workplaces around the region.
In Focus: Making Equality A Matter of Business

Nearly 1,500 business leaders around the world have signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), which help companies adopt policies and practices to realize women’s empowerment. As part of mobilizing follow-up action, UN Women collaborated with the UN Global Compact Turkey Working Group on Women’s Empowerment to develop the WEPs Implementation Guide. Read More. Two WEPs trainings in Georgia for 30 business representatives took place in collaboration with the Georgian Microfinance Association and the International Chamber of Commerce. Read More. The new Equality Means Business training manual details the gender dimensions of corporate sustainability.
During the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, UN Women brought together Turkish and Brazilian WEPs signatories to exchange good practices. The two countries rank second and third in numbers of WEPs signatories globally.
In “Take Five” interviews, WEPs signatories share their insights on applying the principles. Askar Baitassov, Chief Executive Officer of Kazakhstan’s AB Restaurants chain, talks about becoming the first company in Central Asia to sign the WEPs. Read More. Vice-President Mustafa Seçkin shines a light on how the principles have improved the work place at Unilever Turkey. Women now make up five of the 12 representatives on the Executive Board, up from one in pre-WEPs days. Read More.
Empowering Women in the Economy

Women power goes green in Serbia
Women survivors of domestic violence are breathing life into organic gardens. But the vegetables they grow also empower back by providing economic independence and promoting healthy eating. Read More.
Leadership and Political Participation

A call for quotas in Kyrgyzstan
Thirty newly elected women deputies urged holding at least 30 per cent of local council seats for women, along with annual increases in women holding political positions in state and municipal organizations. Read More.
Ending Violence Against Women 

Film on Refugees wins prestigious award
“Home” was dubbed Best British Short Film at the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Film Awards. UN Women backed the Kosovo*-British co-production, which follows a British refugee family fleeing from violence. Read more.
*All references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)
"Positive champions" lend moral support in Moldova
A new video spotlights “positive champions,” who tell inspiring stories of overcoming violence and helping over 1,000 other women do the same. The experience has attracted broad attention; Oxford University adapted it as a case study for master’s candidates. Read More.

In the words of Luiza Karimova: "We were sex slaves"
Once sold into sex slavery, Karimova today works with Podruga, an organization in Kyrgyzstan that assists women subjected to sex and drug trafficking. She tells of learning to trust again—and to always look forward. Read More.
Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action

Trapped in transit, women refugees await a future 
Services to women refugees in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia helped them cope, providing psychosocial support, advice on human rights and asylum, and language classes. This video highlights their experiences.

An equal footing in the Kosovo* Police
The Association of Women in the Kosovo Police trains and supports women to take on leadership roles. It helps tear down stereotypes and cultural barriers that discourage women from joining security forces. Read more.
*All references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)
Women forge peace along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border 
Women in border villages are strengthening skills in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, including to resolve disputes over shared natural resources. They’ve developed 10 cross-border cooperation plans for action by local authorities and UN agencies. Read more.
Governance and National Planning

Changing women's lives with better public budgets 
Wonder what gender-responsive budgeting is and how it can transform women’s lives? Watch this animated video, which explains the concept and the difference it makes in South-east Europe and Moldova.
Gaining a voice in conflict-affected eastern-Ukraine 
Ukrainian and Georgian women’s groups have come together to share experiences in bringing vulnerable populations into local decision-making. Dialogues within communities have raised attention to human rights and gender equality in local policy-making. Read More. 
From Where I Stand
In this series, UN Women captures unique and powerful stories of people around the world, showing how they are bringing about change. Here are three examples from Europe and Central Asia.
From where I stand: Tatiana Covalciuc 
Former migrant Tatiana Covalciuc returned to Moldova to start a business, but struggled with corruption. Today she aims to help other returning migrants. Read More.
From where I stand: Saudita Marku
Saudita Marku moved from a city to a rural village in Albania and began a hunt for ways to make a better living. She now runs a guest house for tourists and a bee-keeping business. Read More.
From where I stand: Gulzada Serzhan
Gulzada Serzhan shares the damaging impacts of work place sexual harassment. For women with diverse sexual orientations in Kazakhstan, the risks are even worse. Read more.
Upcoming Events
“Gender Barometer in Moldova” – first comprehensive study in the country addressing the representation of women and men in politics and decision making – will be launched at the end of May. The study tackles attitudes towards involvement of men and women in political parties, their intention to run in elections and specific challenges they face during election campaigns among other important issues. It provides an opportunity to compare how gender perceptions and gender stereotypes have changed in the last decade. The research was conducted by the Center "Partnership for Development" under the UN programme "Women in Politics," implemented by UN Women and UNDP, with financial support from the Government of Sweden. For more information, contact Victoria Puiu,

About UN Women

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. The UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, which oversees the work of 14 countries, was established in Istanbul in 2014. To see UN Women’s main areas of work in the region click here.

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