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Barbara Rambousek discusses EBRDs gender equality projects

Barbara Rambousek discusses EBRD's gender equality projects

 May 09, 2019

Barbara Rambousek is Director of Gender and Economic Inclusion at the EBRD. She leads the EBRD’s project and policy programmes on economic inclusion across all of the bank’s sectors and regions of operation.

Barbara shares insight into how the EBRD is doing more for gender equality and economic inclusion through a €7bn investment in inclusive and gender projects to date – and making further progress and impact.

Successful economies are those that benefit their people

Barbara lists three examples of the EBRD's successful work in promoting gender equality and economic inclusion: The EBRD has promoted access to skills and quality vocational training; created a Sector Skills Council that brings together private sector and education authorities in Jordan; and supports women into jobs from Egypt to Kazakhstan.

According to Barbara, the majority of EBRD's projects focus specifically on enhancing gender equality, while the others also enhance access to jobs, skills and services for youth, populations in less developed regions, refugees or other groups.

"The EBRD is stepping up its investments and engagements across the region, including ongoing work in the care economy and projects targeting barriers to economic inclusion for people with disabilities," explains Barbara.

"This includes bespoke financial products - ranging from long-term equity investments to specific microfinance solutions - as well as policy dialogue to create the strong institutions needed for successful long-term growth."

"And we are closely aligning our activities with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals such as goal 5 for gender equality and goal 10 for reducing inequalities with a focus on economic inclusion, where the EBRD is a pioneer in its regions."

"Only economies that benefit their people are successful economies," adds Barbara.

EBRD women in business

Major achievements for the EBRD's gender equality projects

Barbara outlines a major achievement for the EBRD. In Kazakhstan current labour laws still contain a list of jobs women cannot hold. As a result, the Minister for Labour and Social Protection signed a legislative order to reduce the list by 96, creating new and well-paid job opportunities for women.

In Turkey, the EBRD also launched a policy dialogue programme to improve training and skills standards in labour intense sectors such as manufacturing and agribusiness.

The EBRD is working with the power and energy firms TREDAS and TREPAS in Turkey to improve women’s economic opportunities through an ambitious Equal Opportunities programme. As well as a review of HR practices, an extensive outreach programme, including training for over 800 staff and actions to improve work-life balance, the number of women employed in technical roles rose an impressive 21 percent.

Barbara also explains that in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) countries where the EBRD operates, the bank continues to address the challenges of economies by creating inclusive economies with employment opportunities for everyone.

"The EBRD remains available with its own finance and expertise to support, encourage and enable the private sector to improve economic opportunities for women, young people and rural populations," adds Barbara.

EBRD gender equality

She also shares that the EBRD is working with the El Sewedy Technical Academy in Egypt, a technical vocational secondary school, to expand their offer of quality, accredited training for young people. The El Sewedy Group, founders of the academy, have committed to increasing student numbers from 200 to over 500 per year.

The EBRD is supporting the Abdali Mall Company training centre at the newly- built mall in Jordan, with training provision linked to the expected needs of companies in the centre. Since its launch in 2017, more than 350 young people have been trained, including 120 Syrian refugees.

Safe access to transport can be a barrier to economic opportunity for women in Egypt. The EBRD is working with the Egyptian National Railways to improve infrastructure, accessibility and safety for all passengers on the railways.

In Jordan, the EBRD has supported the creation of a Sector Skills Council which brings together private sector employers with various entities supporting skills development and employment in the country. The platform allows public and private sectors create occupation skills’ standards in the property and tourism sector.

The EBRD is also expanding its work on women in the green energy sector, a newly launched approach that promotes women’s employment and training in a traditionally male-dominated sector in Egypt.

"The EBRD has the means, the expertise and the commitment to move forward in all our existing regions. And our donors play a major role in our delivery, both with advice and with finance," adds Barbara.

"We are as diverse as our countries and as committed as its people: we are doing more to achieve more. #EBRDMore for more growth, more jobs, more prosperity."

Join women like Barbara making a difference with 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 in business. 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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