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EBRDs Ines Rocha wants to drive womens equality in business

EBRD's Ines Rocha wants to drive women's equality in business

 March 26, 2020

Ines Rocha, Director, Financial Products, SME Finance and Development at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) shares her views on women at work and in society.

Becoming conscious of views around women

Ines grew up with brothers, and her best friend at school happened to be a boy. It was not until she had her first job on a city trading floor that she became conscious of some of the issues around being a woman.

"All of a sudden, I was in a very male-driven environment where women were not only few but also struggled in their career progression and very rarely reached a management position. I felt a strong sense of unfairness - why should it matter that I am not a man to do the work I do?" Ines recalls.

Ines cites historian Yuval Noah Harari in his book Sapiens - a Brief History of Humankind where the author points out that women over centuries have mainly been relegated to secondary roles in society.

"Harari concludes that over the last century, gender roles have undergone a 'tremendous revolution'. More societies are granting men and women equal legal status and rights but also re-thinking the concept of gender. And yet there is still so much more to be done. The first UNDP Gender Social Norms Index revealed that nearly 90% of all people have a 'deeply ingrained bias' against women," Ines continues.

EBRD is helping to drive change in many ways

"These complex social inequalities require wide-ranging responses. This is why the EBRD launched an ambitious new approach to support the financial and economic inclusion of women. The Women in Business (WiB) programme has invested over EUR 500 million reaching thousands of women entrepreneurs across countries - from North Africa to Central Asia.

"Focused around empowering women as leaders within small and medium-sized businesses, the EBRD’s WiB programme was born of the idea that women face great and well-documented challenges in accessing finance, but that there are also persistent inequalities in our countries of operation. The WiB programme is part of a broader EBRD Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality, aiming for a future where women and men, regardless of socio-economic status, have the same rights and opportunities. 

"Within the EBRD, we have also seen change with an increasing percentage of women in the Bank’s senior leadership group. Having management support on promoting gender focused Bank’s policies is key.

"We need to aim for equality and keep pushing for change on rules and perception within society in order to reach a level playing field between genders. We need to make it matter until it doesn’t!"

Read Ines' full article via LinkedIn.

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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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