National Women’s Business Agendas for Central Asia

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November 3, 2021

Our vision is a world in which women and girls enjoy equality, freedom from violence and poverty, andmeaningful inclusion in the processes that shape their communities, nations, and international affairs.


Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) is a global consortium to advance the status of women and girls,led by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLi) in close partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Grameen Foundation, and Search for Common Ground (Search). WAGE works to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations, private sector organizations (PSOs) in target countries to improve the prevention of and response to gender-based violence; advance the women, peace and security agenda; and support women’s economic empowerment. In this context, WAGE provides direct assistance to women and girls, including information, resources, and services they need to succeed as active and equal participants in the global economy and public life. WAGE also engages in collaborative research and learning to build a body of evidence on relevant promising practices in these thematic areas. To account for the deeply interconnected nature of women’s and girls’ experiences, WAGE’s initiatives employ approaches that are highly collaborative, integrated, and inclusive. WAGE is funded by the U.S. Department of StateSecretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.


National Women’s Business Agendas for Central Asia is a multi-disciplinary regional program aimed atbuilding and supporting country-level and regional alliances of women’s organizations to improve the ability of Central Asian women to engage in economic activity. Launched in April 2021, the program is working with women’s business associations (WBAs) and women’s civil society organizations (WCSOs) to identify and address legal and societal barriers to women’s participation in the Central Asian economies. The program will foster collaboration among WBAs, CSOs, and other key stakeholders in the private sector and civil society to establish and advocate National Women’s Business Agendas (NWBAs) in the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan (target countries), and will connect with Turkmenistani women to engage in advocacy on women’s economic empowerment issues.The program is led by CIPE with operational support and GBV technicalexpertise from ABA ROLi and Search for Common Ground in the area of advocacy.


  1. Strengthen the capacity of WBAs, WCSOs, and other key stakeholders in the private sector and civil society toidentify and address barriers to women’s economic empowerment in Central Asian countries.
  2. Foster collaboration among WBAs, WCSOs, and other key stakeholders to develop and advocateNational Women’s Business Agendas.


WAGE believes if women’s organizations have increased organizational capacity to serve and advocate for the interests of Central Asian women and are better equipped to address legal, regulatory, and societal barriers to women’s economic empowerment-including gender-based violence-through collective action, then these organizations will have greater ability to advance women’s participation in the economy, ultimately resulting in Central Asian women leading more resilient, independent, and economically sustainable lives.


Capacity building for women’s organizations and identification of barriers to WEE

WAGE will assess the capacity and needs of women’s organizations and will offer targeted capacity building on coalition building, participatory consultative processes, policy analysis, advocacy, gender-based violence, gender, diversity, and inclusion. WAGE will establish a steering committee in each target country, made up of local WBAs and WCSOs, to represent the voices of women in the private sector through the National Women’s Business Agendas (NWBAs). The steering committees will produce an assessment of the opportunities and barriers to women’s economic empowerment, using a participatory process guided by WAGE’s Women’s Economic Empowerment assessment tool and CIPE’s National Business Agenda methodology.

Fostering collective action among women’s organizations to develop and advocate NWBA

Building on these assessments and incorporating consultative feedback from women in the private sector and other key stakeholders, WAGE will establish National Women’s Business Agendas (NWBAs) in the four target countries that will address barriers women face to full participation in the Central Asian economies. The steering committees will then develop and advocate for policy recommendations to diminish the identified barriers, with WAGE support via technical assistance and small grants. WAGE will foster regional collaboration among steering committees to identify common barriers and recommendations raised by the four NWBAs and experiences of women from Turkmenistan.


WAGE seeks to establish meaningful partnerships with and among government, CSOs, women entrepreneurs and business associations, and the private sector to ensure a holistic approach to addressing the multifaceted problems facing women entrepreneurs in Central Asia. By engaging with established entities, WAGE takes a locally relevant and sustainable approach to addressing key development challenges in Central Asia. While the region faces common challenges, WAGE recognizes the distinct set of challenges facing each target country and will adjust its approach and mobilize relevant expertise and technical assistance to address them. WAGE’s partners in CentralAsia house some of the best experts on gender-related issues and advocacy in Central Asia, including Women’s Forum “Kurak” in the Kyrgyz Republic, Association of Women Lawyers in Kazakhstan, International Women’s Association “Sharq Ayoli” in Uzbekistan, and National Association of Businesswomen of Tajikistan.

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