Kazakhstan Shows Positive Trends in Number of Women-Led Businesses

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan is home to 9.84 million women, which is 1.2 percent more than a year earlier at the beginning of this year, reports the Ranking.kz monitoring agency. 

Photo credit: Otyrar.kz.

Women make up 51.4 percent of the total population of the country. The share of women constitutes 48,5 percent among the economically active population. Women also make up 48.1 percent of the workforce in the country and 48.9 percent of workers. 

The country also observes a high percentage of women in business. The number of women-led businesses increased by 9.1 percent over the year and reached 625,100 companies by the end of 2021. The number of female entrepreneurs under 29 increased by 37.2 percent over the year and reached 88,700 people. The contribution of women’s entrepreneurship to the GDP is about 40 percent. 

The progress in terms of gender equality is still uneven in Kazakhstan. Men earn more than women on average. Men earn 21.7 percent more than women in similar sectors. 

The unemployment rate among men reached 4.1 percent, while it was 5.1 percent among women in the fourth quarter of 2021. The gross enrollment in higher education among women was 73.2 percent before the pandemic, while it was only 61.1 percent for men. Women make up 52.4 percent of specialist researchers compared with 47.6 percent of men.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the global economy would grow by $28 trillion by 2025 (a 11-26 percent increase) if women participated in the labor force to the same degree as men. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) reported that if 15 countries closed the gender gap by 2020, per capita income could increase by an average of 12 percent by 2030. We have yet to see this prediction come to pass. 

The experts said that the pandemic has postponed progress for women and girls globally. According to the United Nations and the World Bank, women entrepreneurs have suffered more than men because of the pandemic-related crisis. 

Kazakhstan has implemented a number of programs and projects to support women. This includes the Umai, a mortgage loan, launched by Otbasy bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the EBRD’s Women in Business Program, the KMF Isker Hanymy project among others. 

Overall, Kazakhstan ranks 80 out of 156 countries in the global ranking of gender equality, which is eight positions lower than a year earlier.

The Agency on Strategic Planning and Reforms reported that 28 women are represented in the Majilis (the lower house of Parliament), nine women in the Senate (the upper house of Parliament), one woman serves in the government and one serves as a governor. 

The major portion of female specialists work in the education sector, business and administration and sales and service sectors.  

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