Europe & Central Asia  Priorities  Opportunities for Women

Opportunities for Women

In Europe and Central Asia, less than one out of every five businesses has a top female manager, and women’s representation in board rooms and executive and ownership positions is lower than in East Asia and Latin America. For every country like Belarus, where the share of firms with women in top management is among the world’s highest, there are two like Kosovo, which has almost no firms with women in top management. Further, women’s overall employment in the region is low, even though an IFC report found that higher levels of gender diversity can increase innovation and productivity, and boost the bottom line.

IFC committed to more than 15 gender-related projects in ECA in fiscal year 2014, to boost women’s employment and help promote the business case for gender diversity in the workplace. We organized half a dozen events and training programs across the Balkans to increase the ranks of women employees, entrepreneurs, executives, and board members. IFC made a €35 million loan to Garanti Bank Romania to finance small and medium enterprises, with €20 million for on-lending to companies owned or managed by women. Similar projects were implemented in Turkey, Russia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan.


Examples of What We Do:

Garanti Bank Turkey: Combining SME Banking Excellence with a Proposition for Women Entrepreneurs in Turkey

Garanti Bank Romania: Striving to Lead - A Study on Women in Banking

Profit with Purpose - Making Banking on Women Impactful. Learnings from BLC Bank Lebanon, Garanti Bank Romania, Garanti Bank Turkey

In Turkey, Boyner Group’s Supply Chain Strengthens Women in Business

Stories and Resources:

Infographic: The Gender Divide

Five Purely Economic Reasons to End Gender Discrimination