Building post-crisis resilience and women's empowerment in Armenian light industry

World Creativity and Innovation Day is celebrated globally on 21 April to raise awareness on the role of creativity and innovation in solving the world’s most pressing problems. Undoubtedly, countries that will lead in this century will be the ones that are best able to harness the innovation and creativity of its people. Women often remain an underestimated force in this talent pool although it has long been proven that gender diversity at board level boosts creativity and innovation, which is good for business.

Armenia recognizes its female potential and, when the COVID-19 crisis hit the country, inflicting severe disruptions on the light industry and causing an unprecedented production downturn, many light industry enterprises had little choice but to embark on reinventing their modus operandi with a focus on innovation and agility. This out of the box thinking enabled them to ensure business continuity, job creation, income generation and poverty mitigation in the times of crisis and beyond.

To address the pandemic’s impact, UNIDO joined hands with the Ministry of Health of Armenia to identify the country’s current needs in medical supplies for reorienting the light industry production and helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to adapt to new realities. Drawing on the existing network of UNIDO technical assistance initiatives in the country, this new initiative paves the way for improved resilience of light industry SMEs in Armenia and is helping to secure jobs for hundreds of women by providing them with the necessary professional learning opportunities. As such, so far more than 1,000 employees (95% of which were women) from project beneficiary SMEs were engaged in a series of capacity building activities. 

Aligned with UNIDO’s mandate to foster inclusive and sustainable industrial development, UNIDO is advancing gender equality and women empowerment by contributing to improved access to labour- and specialized knowledge-intensive manufacturing jobs for women. These jobs are known to be more resilient in the emerging employment landscape and help bring women to the decision-making tables across Armenia’s light industry.”

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