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EBRD marks International Womens Day to #BreakTheBias

EBRD marks International Women's Day to #BreakTheBias

 March 07, 2022

In celebration of International Women's Day (IWD)the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is marking the #BreakTheBias theme, noting that bias takes many forms and is often unspoken or unconscious.

EBRD alumna Vedrana Jelušić Kašić says, "Diversity can only deliver when we create an atmosphere where leaders allow themselves to be challenged."

Gender equality is an integral part of the EBRD's commitment to promoting sustainable and inclusive market economies through its project and policy activities. The company is aware that despite progress, women worldwide do not fully experience equal rights, and their economic, social, leadership and development potential often remains untapped.

A company that is Breaking The Bias

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on women and girls around the world, including in EBRD Countries Of Operation (COOs), rolling back on the hard-won achievements of past years. The effect of the crisis on men and women is extensive and differentiated and often can be traced along existing and persistent gender inequalities.

Women are disproportionately affected due to their representation in sectors that were hard hit by lockdown policies, their increased likelihood to be in lower-paid, part-time, informal and precarious jobs, as well as a significant increase in time spent on care duties. The crisis risks putting gender equality and inclusion efforts on hold and even reversing the gender equality gains made in recent decades, with high costs to not only women but also businesses and economies as a whole.

The EBRD – with its strong private sector focus and its extensive experience promoting policy dialogue in the countries where it works – has a significant role to play in countering such dynamics, and instead enabling countries to leverage the contribution that greater gender equality can make to faster recovery and sustainable, long-term growth.

An employer committed to gender equality

Under the first Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality (SPGE) 2016-2020, the EBRD laid the foundations for EBRD’s impact on gender equality at the project and policy level. The Bank scaled-up key products such as the EBRD Women in Business Programme across over twenty countries and achieved important policy milestones, for instance, by removing legal barriers to women’s employment in Central Asia. In total, EBRD invested over EUR 7.3 billion in projects that promote gender equality between 2016 and 2020.

EBRD is promoting women's voices

With the second Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality (2021-25), the Bank further scales up its activities to promote gender equality throughout its operations and introduces additional lenses to ensure that approaches reflect new and emerging challenges and tackle entrenched issues.

The Strategy sets out the corresponding objectives and lenses, reflecting the Bank’s SCF priorities of climate change and digitalisation, as well as two additional cross-cutting areas that are crucial for enhancing women’s participation in the economy and public life: the provision of affordable, high-quality care and the promotion of women’s voice and agency, including the freedom from gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH).

By the end of the strategy period, the EBRD pledges to integrate gender equality components into at least 40 per cent of its annual investment operations.

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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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