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Interview with AUCC Chairperson Carolyn Lamm Before 2012 Uzbekistan-US Annual Business Forum

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Gender equality forms part of a better future

25 June 2020
  • Building gender equality part of a vision for a better future
  • Equality the hallmark of the new world, W20 says
  • EBRD and W20 helping G20 leaders develop gender-responsive recovery policies

The world must draw conclusions from the coronavirus pandemic and build a more inclusive and sustainable future, the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Suma Chakrabarti, has said.

Speaking at a seminar co-hosted with the Women20 (W20) group, he said building gender equality into the recovery from the crisis was part of a vision for a better future, boosting long-term economic resilience and sustainability.

“This crisis is revealing entrenched systemic and structural inequalities. They require renewed vision, determination and action to overcome,” the EBRD President said.

He pointed out that women were bearing a disproportionate share of the coronavirus burden. In the EBRD regions, women accounted for 59 per cent of medical doctors and 88 per cent of nursing personnel.

The overwhelming majority of workers in the care sector were women, whose unpaid workload had also increased at home.

Women20 (W20) is an official G20 engagement group forming a transnational network of women’s organisations, female entrepreneur associations and think tanks. The main goal is to promote women’s economic empowerment as an integral part of the G20 process. The W20 will present G20 leaders with concrete actionable policy recommendations to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

President Chakrabarti said that the EBRD and W20 were jointly committed to helping G20 leaders develop gender-responsive recovery policies. These would preserve gender equality gains already achieved and lay the groundwork for societies to benefit from the full participation of women in economic activity in the future.

“The W20’s role is critical in advocating for women as a crucial part of the economic recovery and growth story,” he added.

Women 20 Chair Thoraya Obaid added: “Covid-19 has exposed the entrenched inequalities in our societies, including on gender. It is now our collective duty to re-imagine and rebuild a new world where equality is its hallmark.”

The EBRD has been stepping up its activities to support gender equality over the last half decade. The flagship Women in Business programme has provided more than €500 million in loans to more than 60,000 women-led small and medium-sized companies in 18 countries.

In addition, more than 20,000 training opportunities have been extended to women, youth and other disadvantaged groups.

Policy engagement is also an important part of the EBRD’s work. For example, in Kazakhstan it is facilitating policy dialogue between the private sector and the government regarding the removal of job restrictions for female employment.

As President Chakrabarti explained: “Multilateral development banks such as the EBRD have a vital role to play in shaping and implementing the gender-responsive roadmap to recovery.”