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EBRD helps create economic opportunities for women

EBRD helps create economic opportunities for women

 March 14, 2019

EBRD's Director for Gender and Economic Inclusion Barbara Rambousek joined the UK's BBC Radio 4 to talk about how the EBRD can strive for a more inclusive and balanced world and how it is helping to create economic opportunities and open up access to finance and services for women.

Improving women's access and opportunities

Barbara explains that through the EBRD’s gender and economic inclusion strategies, the bank promotes the empowerment of women in its regions by helping to improve their access to three key areas: finance, skills and employment, and services.

"With its Women in Business programme, the EBRD is creating entrepreneurship opportunities for women by matching them up with financing for their small businesses. The programme has committed over €480 million across 18 countries, reaching more than 35,000 women – women like Tamara Chigogidze, the founder and CEO of Georgia’s largest radio broadcasting company," explains Barbara.

"To date, the EBRD has supported over 190 projects addressing gender equality as well as youth or regional inclusion gaps. More than half of these projects focus specifically on enhancing gender equality, while the others enhance access to jobs, skills and services for youth, refugees, and populations in more remote areas. The EBRD’s total investments with economic inclusion and gender equality components total over €7.1 billion," she continues.

EBRD Women in Business programme

Making the workplace a safe place for women

Barbara explains how the EBRD makes the workplace a safe place for women. For example, the EBRD helps clients across their regions to promote equal opportunities in the workplace, which improves women's access to skills and employment. The EBRD also helps prevent and fight gender-based violence by collaborating with companies, such as in Egypt where the EBRD is providing support to Egyptian National Railways to identify, prevent and manage cases of sexual harassment in trains and on platforms. 

"The impact on gender equality is largest when investments are directly combined with policy reform and support for regulatory change. In many Central Asian countries, current labour laws still contain legacy prohibitions barring women from performing certain types of occupations," says Barbara. "These rules have remained largely unchanged for 50 years, perpetuating gender stereotypes and restricting economic opportunities for women."

Barbara gives the example of EBRD's involvement in encouraging the Minister for Labour and Social Protection of Kazakhstan to sign a legislative order to remove 96 roles from this list, reducing the number of jobs women cannot hold by a quarter. 

Committed to promoting gender equality

Barbara also spoke at an event on Migration: A Driver of Development. The debate was about how migration can be a transformative force for economic and social development, generating growth and driving opportunities for all.  Barbara talked about the work of the EBRD, the role of private sector and how businesses need access to  skills.

"There is still a long road ahead to better gender balance in our regions," says Barbara. "However, the EBRD is committed to continuing to explore innovative products, investments and programmes that will allow us to scale up our impact and promote gender equality and an inclusive transition for the economies we invest in."

EBRD equality and migration

Join women like Barbara at the EBRD

Join talented women at the EBRD who are leading and working on exciting projects across many countries - projects that truly make a difference to the lives of women. Research the EBRD's latest job vacancies and see where your skills and experience might take your career.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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