'Business Leaders Drive for Change' in Georgia
The 2019 Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) annual conference “Business Leaders Drive for Change” gathered representatives of the private sector to discuss promising practices in promoting gender equality in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Annual WEPs conference gathered more than 160 business sector representatives to discuss promising practices in promoting gender equality in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The more than 160 conference attendees - representing businesses committed to the WEPs and other companies interested in the initiative - discussed the private sector’s role in empowering women. The guest speakers included local and international WEPs signatories and their women employees, suppliers and customers, all of whom shared their experiences with WEPs implementation.
One of the WEPs companies presented at the conference was Lingwing, a Georgian online education platform. The company recently hired 11 women who had undergone trainings from UN Women and the Innovative Education Foundation on social media marketing and website development. Keti Tsilosani, a recent hire from Lanchkhuti, Guria, remarked: “Starting to develop a website was like entering a Matrix film. But in the end, it wasn’t that difficult… Now, my life has changed.”
Lingwing CEO Vato Veliashvili expressed his satisfaction with the new hires, who have designed the company’s new orange parrot logo, among other accomplishments. “We are planning to hire more women for the company,” he noted.
Nino Enukidze, Rector of Business and Technology University, a WEPs signee since 2018, launched the Coding School for Women in 2019 with their first batch of 20 students. “Female students get better academic results than male students,” Ms. Enukidze noted. “The first batch will graduate in two weeks. Next, we want to expand the initiative outside Tbilisi.” The usefulness of the 206-hour training curriculum was reiterated by Ketevan Otiashvili, one of the students.
The conference was part of UN Women’s WEPs work in Georgia implemented with the Business Leaders’ Federation “Women for Tomorrow” and the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. H.E Helene Sand Andresen, Ambassador of Norway to Georgia, shared Norway’s experiences at the conference. She highlighted that the overall contribution of women to Norway’s economy is larger than the contribution of oil. Many companies in Norway are offering working conditions and flexible working arrangements that are aligned with the WEPs.
Since December 2018, the number of WEPs signatory companies in Georgia has increased from 26 to 43. In addition, GCCI’s president signed onto the WEPs in 2019, making it one of the first chambers of commerce in the world to commit to the WEPs.