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EBRD puts gender equality at the heart of its green agenda

EBRD puts gender equality at the heart of its green agenda

 March 15, 2021

"Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our times, and women are disproportionately vulnerable to it and have an important role in addressing it," writes EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso in a thought-leadership article on how EBRD puts gender equality at the heart of its green investments and policy work.

Women experience climate change differently to men

Odile explains how tackling climate change effectively will require deep changes to how we live, work and think - "and the only way these can be implemented is if everyone takes an active role and if the emerging opportunities related to the green transition are shared equitably," she adds.

For Odile, there are many ways to understand how men and women experience climate change differently: "Women form the majority of the world’s two billion poorest people, for instance, among whom the negative impacts of climate change are concentrated. Women are also often more affected than men by climate change impacts as a result of persisting gender norms and discriminations, such as finding more obstacles in their way when borrowing to finance introducing greener technologies," she says.

In the developing world, women are often the primary agricultural producers. As farmers, entrepreneurs, producers, consumers and household managers, women are key for implementing low-carbon strategies – which means they are "important agents of change," explains Odile. "But, since women seldom own the land they work on, they have often been excluded from decisions on development. Including them can change outcomes."

Odile suggests how to achieve the dual track of tackling climate change through gender action: we must recognise women as economic, social and political actors who play a crucial role in adopting new technologies, taking and supporting the tough decisions needed to spur action at scale, and seizing the opportunities that a new, greener economy can bring.

Integrating gender across flagship green programmes

EBRD recognizes that that gender equality has to be an integral part of green investment and policy action. In 2020, the new strategic priorities EBRD set for the next five years centred on making its investments not only more green but also more inclusive, gender equal and digital. "The critical connection between climate action and gender equality is at the heart of our agenda," adds Odile.

Odile shares how EBRD has been integrating gender across its flagship green programmes.

Promoting access to green skills and jobs

EBRD promotes women’s access to green skills and jobs. In Egypt and Kazakhstan, EBRD leverages partnerships with its private sector clients, national ministries and education providers to enable women to gain “green skills” and promote their progression into careers in the renewable energy sector.

Supporting women entrepreneurs

EBRD supports women entrepreneurs to adopt low-carbon technologies and promote access to green finance. In EBRD's Green Economy Financing Facilities (GEFFs), we are working with local banks to ensure that both men and women have access to green finance, low-carbon technology and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Improving access to green infrastructure

The Bank also improves women’s access to green infrastructure and services. Through the EBRD Green Cities programme, the Bank is accelerating the transition to low-carbon cities while promoting women and men’s equal opportunities in the infrastructure sector. In Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, one of EBRD's lead Green Cities, the Bank signed a new metro project that will provide commuters with comfortable and environmentally friendly transport, encouraging residents to shift from private to public transport and thus reducing air pollution. It will also tackle gender-based harassment on public transport, and open up opportunities for women to train as metro drivers.

Acting as managers of natural resources 

EBRD also empowers women to act as managers of natural resources. In Morocco’s agribusiness sector, EBRD is helping female farmers adopt enhanced water management technologies in the face of a changing climate in the Saïss Plain region.

EBRD is also launching new Strategy, further raising its ambition to affect positive change at the nexus of climate change and gender equality. One focus is on the EBRD Green Cities programme through its enhanced policy reforms on gender as part of municipal decision-making, budgeting and public engagement.

Encouraging uptake of low-carbon technologies

EBRD is also promoting the uptake of low-carbon technologies in industry in Armenia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Serbia, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan. Together with the Green Climate Fund, EBRD is ensuring that women will be able to harness the opportunities coming from these new technologies thorough access to skills and green jobs throughout the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Likewise, EBRD is working closely with the European Investment Bank and the CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, through the 2X Climate and Gender Taskforce, an initiative aimed at leveraging the power of gender-smart investments for climate action.

"We have a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build back better post-Covid," concludes Odile.

"I look forward to working with businesses, policy partners and other key stakeholders to jointly take this opportunity - for a more equal, green and sustainable future for all. Green and gender inclusion need to go hand in hand."

Work for a company that's making a positive difference to the world

EBRD is proactive when it comes to sustainability.Environmentally sound and sustainable development is central to the EBRD’s mandate. The Bank promotes it throughout its activities and have made it a core element of its work.

If you're passionate about safeguarding our planet for the future, search and apply for a job at the EBRD.


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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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