The EBRD and gender equality

Gender Equality Awards

Since 2005, an Award Ceremony to recognise achievements in promoting Gender Equality has formed part of the EBRD’s Annual Meeting and Business Forum.

The Awards recognise the achievements of both men and women whom have demonstrated a commitment to advancing gender equality and diversity in their workplace or business, in one of the Bank’s countries of operation. The Awards aim to reflect the commitment of Bank clients and partners to supporting the promotion of gender equality, including by providing equal opportunities for both men and women. They recognise those individuals (men and women) who demonstrate compelling case studies championing change in their workplace or society, alongside companies that are leading the way in developing a corporate culture of gender equality through internal policies and initiatives.

The Gender Equlity Awards form part of the Gender Discussion Panel at the Bank’s Annual Meetings, and together with the discussion panel has become a key feature of the EBRD’s Annual Meeting and Business Forum.

Select a year to view information on the winners.
 

Gender Equality Awards 2017

The 2017 “Champion of Gender Equality” Awards were presented at the Bank’s Annual Meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus.

They were held as part of the discussion Panel “Making Green Growth Work for Women.” The panel analysed the employment opportunities for women and men, and the challenges they face in the green economy, with a specific focus on the renewable energy sector, and how the private sector, governments and other stakeholders can support inclusive and gender responsive green growth.

The aim of this year’s Gender Equality Awards was to recognise individuals and companies who have been working to promote and advance gender equality and diversity in their workplace and business, making equal opportunities a vital part of their business development.

Nominations were open to male and female individuals who work for an organisation that is a client of the EBRD and to EBRD corporate clients

2016 was the EBRD’s first full year of implementation of the Gender Strategy; and the Bank was proud to be able to award three key clients working with the Bank under the new Strategy.

“Champion of Gender Equality” Award (Corporate, Public Sector)

Infrastruktura e Hekurudhave të Kosovës  ShA. /Infrastructure of Kosovo Railways JSC (INFRAKOS), Kosovo

In 2016, the EBRD launched an equal opportunities programme, under its Gender Advisory Services Programme, with Kosovo Railways Infrastructure, to help the company promote equal opportunity policies and practices in its workforce, and with a view to increasing the number of women employees. Since the beginning of the programme, the company has been proactive in implementing positive changes, including capacity building training for HR and mid-senior management with regard to equal opportunities. 

The Award was collect on behalf of Infrakos by its CEO, Mr Agron Thaçi, who has been instrumental in the company’s drive to implement the equal opportunities programme.

“Champion of Gender Equality” Award (Corporate, Private Sector)

TEB ShA, Kosovo

In 2015, TEB joined the EBRD Western Balkans Women in Business Programme and has been delivering successfully to women entrepreneurs under the programme. TEB is a leader in the financial market in Kosovo with regard to developing and delivering financial products for women entrepreneurs, and is (at the time of writing) the only Financial Institution Partner under the Western Balkans Women in Business Programme which has actively promoted women’s start-ups businesses.

The Award was collected on behalf of TEB by its Managing Director, Mr Orcun Ozdemir.

“Champion of Gender Equality” Award (Individual)

Aisuluu Kushtarbekova, (Manager, Project Implementation Unit, Osh City Municipal Auto-Transport Company), Kyrgyz Republic

Under the Bank’s Gender Advisory Services Programme, the EBRD launched an equal opportunities programme in 2015 for the Osh Auto Public Transport Company, with a view to address the lack of female drivers.  Ms Kushtarbekova is responsible for the overall implementation of the project, as well as the Gender Advisory Services Programme. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that the company remains focused and committed to the Gender Advisory Services Programme, and with her active support under the Programme, an Equal Opportunities Action Plan has been developed and adopted by the Company. Another achievement of Ms Kurshtarbekova, has been the implementation of an intensive two-month training programme for 12 women, who now are successfully qualified to drive trolley-buses.
 

Gender Equality Awards 2016

The 2016 “Promotion of Gender Equality” Awards were presented at the Bank’s Annual Meeting in London.

The Awards were held as part of the Discussion Panel “Gender Equality – Why it Matters?” The discussion looked at how gender equality has fared over the past 25 years in the EBRD’s countries of operations, the implications and why it matters to the economy as a whole,  and what still needs to be done to make more progress over next 25 years.

It is the second year that the Awards were open to men and women, who have been leaders in Promoting Gender Equality in their respective companies, in three business areas: Corporate Business, Financial Institution and Service Provider. The EBRD was delighted to have the first male winner of the Gender Equality Awards.

“Promotion of Gender Equality in a Corporate Business” Award

Mr. Haydar Yenigün, General Manager of Ford Ostosan, Turkey

Whilst serving in other positions in the company, Mr Yenigün noticed that the company could play a vital role in opening up job opportunities for women, and began the company’s drive to invest in gender equality following his appointment as the company’s General Manager in 2012. Since his appointment, Mr Yenigün has led the effort to become the first automobile group in Turkey to improve working conditions for women, in order to attract more women workers to the industry; and has successfully achieved an increase in women in mid-top management position, as well as more than half the company’s internships being taken up by young women.

“Promotion of Gender Equality in a Financial Institution” Award

Lyazzat Ibragimova, in her former role as Chairperson of JSC Enterprise Development Fund “DAMU”, Kazakhstan

Ms Ibragimova is an active public figures in Kazakhstan, working tirelessly to promote equal access to finance for women-led SMEs, and to address major obstacles that lead to gender equality at the state level. Ms Ibragimova considers it her “social mission” to address the challenges that limit the opportunities for women and that prevent women-led businesses from growing beyond the micro level. Under her leadership, she developed the state gender financing programme within DAMU, in order to address gender gaps in relation to access to finance and access to know-how for women-led businesses. She has also initiated programmes that ensure particular attention is paid to women-led enterprises and women entrepreneurship, and lead the cooperation between DAMU and the Association of Business Women of Kazakhstan, for educational and training programmes. As a result, DAMU plays a vital role in Kazakhstan, in the promotion of women’s economic empowerment, with loans granted to women SMEs growing significantly since 2010.

“Promotion of Gender Equality in a Service Provider” Award

Kaliyman Kobshekova, Director, Issyk-Kul Regional Centre for Development and Education, Kyrgyz Republic

Under Ms Kobshekova’s leadership, the Centre has developed a strong gender equality element to their work, significantly contributing to the promotion of adult education, gender equality, and an increase in the number of female consultants being trained, in the agricultural, tourism and construction sectors. The main challenges have been to stay relevant in a changing economic environment; however, under Ms Kobshekova’s leadership, the Centre has continued to successfully develop training programmes, that meet the region’s demand.  The high level of education and vocational training, provided by the Centre to women in rural and some of the poorest areas, has contributed to overcoming poverty and created additional jobs in the local community. Some of these programmes include, courses on self-financing for women involved in the processing of milk at home, and vocational training, in the region’s hotel and restaurant businesses, which have improved the opportunities for women in the region.
 

Diversity in the Workplace Awards 2015

“We choose these companies because they promoted gender equality and diversity in their respective places of work, in innovative ways. They acted as determined drivers of change. They can, with no doubts, be inspiring role models for other Company CEOs,” said Michaela Bergman, the EBRD’s Chief Social Counsellor following the 2015 Diversity in the Workplace Awards, at the Bank’s Annual Meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The Awards were presented to individuals who have promoted gender equality and diversity in their workplace, through the implementation of initiatives that have enabled both the retention and promotion of female employees. These included family-friendly policies, flexible working hours and the promotion of women’s careers and equal opportunities for all. The 2015 awards were presented by the EBRD Vice President, Betsy Nelson.

“Promoting Gender Diversity in a Financial Institution” Award

Shoira Sadykova, General Director of Micro Credit Deposit Organisation, Arvand, Tajikistan.

Ms Sadykova introduced flexible working hours, and a kindergarten at the Arvand main offices.  Ms Sadykova hopes that providing a supportive work environment for female employees will encourage more women to continue their career with Arvand. Currently, within her senior management team, three of her four staff are female.

“Promoting Gender Diversity in a Commercial Company” Award

Svetlana Siprova, CEO of Mark Formelle, Belarus

Ms Siprova introduced programmes for employees, which have helped to attract and retain women, through flexible working conditions and teaching-training programmes, to develop and progress women in their careers.  

“Promoting Gender Diversity as a Business Owner” Award

Narankhuu Odon, General Director of Teso Corporation, Mongolia

Ms Odon promoted a corporate culture that is conducive towards female employees and their promotion within Teso Group. This included the implementation of an internal corporate policy that is gender neutral, with respect to compensation, recruitment, training and promotion. Other positive internal changes included flexible working hours and policies that support single working mothers. As a result of her positive and proactive leadership, currently, four out of six of the production factories are run by female CEOs, all of whom have been promoted based on merit; and the percentage of female senior management has risen from 52% to 60%.

Women in Business Awards 2014

Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship

This award went to Undarmaa Batbayar, President of Bishrelt Group, Mongolia. She is considered to be one of the most prominent female figures of the socio-political and business world in Mongolia. In addition to serving as President of Bishrelt Group (a leading trading company that she founded in 1994), Ms Batbayar currently serves as Deputy Minister of Mongolia’s Ministry of Culture and Education, is a member of the Lower Council of the Mongolian People’s Party and a Chairman of the Social Policy Committee at the Citizens Representative Council of Ulaanbaatar city, as well as Chief of the Family Development Center. She holds numerous prestigious national awards, including Best Worker Honours and the Order of the Polar Star by the government of Mongolia.

Outstanding Achievement in the Financial Sector

Gulbahor Makhkamova won the Outstanding Achievement in the Financial Sector award. Ms Makhkamova is currently Deputy General Director of the microlending organisation IMON International, Tajikistan. She has more than 12 years of experience working for international and local NGOs on issues related to economic development, gender and microfinance, but has focused on microfinance for the past decade, holding supervisory responsibilities in the areas of operations, marketing, human resources, product development and quality management. Ms Makhkamova holds an Honours Diploma in finance and banking (Khujand State University) and completed the international two-year educational programme, Leadership for Sustainable Development (LEAD International), as well as the Regional Scholar Exchange Program ACCESS (Columbia University, Harriman Institute). Her work has appeared in more than 10 publications.

Outstanding Achievement in Industry

Winner in the Outstanding Achievement in Industry category was Nawal Khalifa, Executive Director Finances, ONEE Water Branch, Morocco. ONEE (Office National de l'Electricité et de l'Eau Potable) – an electric utility and bulk water provider – is considered one of the best water utilities in the region. As Chief Financial Officer, Ms Khalifa is responsible for ONEE’s financial management as well as the implementation of its water strategy. Since 2001, she has led ONEE’s restructuring and more recently headed the Working Group for Water in the merger between ONEP (Office National de l'Eau Potable) and ONE (Office National de l'Electricité). Ms Khalifa is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cameroon Water Company (CDE SA). She is a graduate of The Moroccan Higher Institute of Commerce and Business Administration (ISCAE).

 

 

Women in Business Awards 2013

Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Mrs Elena Crivonos is the Founder and CEO of “Maxipac Grup” LLC in the Republic of Moldova. She launched her company – producing polyethylene packs - in 2004, steering the company to great success. By using her technical expertise and focusing on the introduction of the use of biodegradable technologies, Mrs Crivonos led Maxipac to becoming the first Moldovan Company to be certified in the production of biodegradable packs. This, coupled with her keen sense of finance, management and marketing, has established Maxipac as a leader in the production of such products in Moldova, offering customized products to over 150 legal entities.

Outstanding Achievement in Industry

Mrs Milanka Djolic has more than 30 years of experience in financial management. She joined Forma Ideale, the largest Serbian flat pack furniture producer, as its CFO in mid-2011 at a time when the financial and economic crisis was significantly affecting the furniture sector. Mrs Djolic’s strong financial background and significant experience in turnaround management, enabled her to successfully face these challenges head-on and to drive forward a comprehensive restructuring of the company. Mrs Djolic devised a financial and operational improvement plan, introducing a number of innovations in the Company, all of which proved crucial to the successful turnaround of the company.

Outstanding Achievement in Banking

Ms Selin Oz joined Garanti Bank in 1997. For the past six years, she has held the position of Strategic Planning and Business Development Manager in the SME Banking Department. Since 2007, Ms Oz has also been responsible for Garanti Bank’s “Women Entrepreneurs Support Package” Programme. She is a vocal advocate of the role that women play in contributing to Turkey’s social and economic development establishing the contribution of women entrepreneurs to Turkish economy is a significant business line for Garanti Bank. As part of her role, Ms Oz has championed specific projects focussed on the empowerment of women entrepreneurs working closely with Garanti’s 1,500 relationship managers across the country, in order to maintain the momentum of the initiative.

Women in Business Awards 2012

Outstanding Achievement in Banking

Branka Pavlovic is CEO of Société Générale subsidiary in Montenegro Podgoricka Banka SG Group. She moved to this position from Société Générale Serbia where she was Member of the Executive Board in charge of Corporate Market and the President of Société Générale Serbia Pension Fund Board of Directors. She was the first women and the first non-French expat on CEO position among all Société Générale subsidiaries. She has helped transform a non-profitable bank with decreasing market share into a client-oriented and the most profitable bank of the market. She has promoted new values, banking behaviour and standards of work, which brought back confidence of the clients and highly improved public perception of the bank. Ms Pavlovic started her career in International Payment Department in Jugobanka, Belgrade, and also served in its New York Agency as a trade finance expert.

Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Mrs Radovanovic, a qualified electrical engineer established private company PSTech for ICT solutions and software development together with her colleagues in 1996. Today, PSTech has 175 employees, mostly young and highly educated software engineers and is providing services to local and international clients. 95% of the revenue is made on the US market. PSTech references include some of the biggest ICT companies in the world. Mrs Radovanovic managed to become a successful business woman leading the company in one of the most prospective but also challenging sectors of economy. Throughout this time, she has faced numerous challenges relating to complex business environment such as constant changes of legislation, unstable local currency and complicated government procedures in the SME sector.

Outstanding Achievement in Industry

Garamjav Tseden, a qualified geological engineer established Monpolymet, a leading national enterprise in Mongolia in 1992 with a primary focus on mining. Today the company has expanded into four sister companies in construction, mineral exploration, and rehabilitation and construction material production sectors with over 500 employees. Mrs Tseden has been working for the mining industry for 29 years and has implemented numerous profitable projects. She values her company’s success in becoming the “Best Rehabilitating Entity” award which the company received seven times in a row from the Mongolian government. She continues to look for ways to improve the overall business standards and sustainable development in the mining sector.

Women in Business Awards 2011

Outstanding Achievement in Banking

Ms. Alexandra Volchenko is the First Vice-President of OJSC Promsvyazbank. Ms. Volchenko is a self-made business woman who began her career in an entry-level position and worked her way up to become the CFO and First Vice-President of one of the leading commercial banks in Russia. Under her leadership, Promsvyazbank has experienced impressive growth in recent years and is now one of the top private banks in Russia.

Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Ms. Jadranka Boban Pejic is a successful entrepreneur and CEO of Biovega. After twenty-five years of being in operation the company now counts around 130 employees and is a leader in the field of the natural foods industry. The Croatia based enterprise sells, both whole sale and retail, and distributes organic products including food, cosmetics, and household products.

Outstanding Achievement in Industry

Ms. Valentina Taseva is the Managing Director of Semos Education. Ms. Taseva saw the potential to develop the IT industry in Macedonia. She began working with Semos when it had only one classroom and two employees, and since becoming Managing Director, she has expanded the company to train IT professionals in Macedonia and across Europe. Today, the company has experienced annual growth of 30% and has over 54% market share and over 50 employees.

 

Women in Business Awards 2010

Outstanding Achievement in Banking

Olena Zhukova, is the CEO of Mega Bank, Ukraine. Ms Zhukova is a classic example of a self-made businesswoman. She started her career in banking in the late nineties, from an entry-level position in a Ukrainian commercial bank, gradually working her way up to the current position of the Chairman of the Management Board of a leading commercial bank in Eastern Ukraine.

Ms Zhukova has been successfully leading PJSC Megabank for five years. Under her leadership, the bank has been transformed from a small local bank with a few customers to a leading financial institution in Eastern Ukraine. However, Ms Zhukova's ambitions go further as she aims to continue building a bank that would successfully compete with the largest commercial banks in Ukraine.

Among the many achievements under the leadership of Ms Zhukova, PJSC Megabank has expanded its branch network from 12 to 25 regions,developed its own system of Integral Clearing Centre, tripled the number of issued plastic cards and implemented new best practice corporate standards as well as undergoing a programme of improving risk management methodologies and processes. Some of the many strong qualities of Ms Zhukova are people management skills, advanced knowledge of commercial bank's operational management, strong leadership qualities and ambition to succeed.

Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Sanavbar Sharipova is the General Director of Limited Liability Company Microlending Organisation “Imon International." Founder and former chairwoman of the National Association of Business Women of Tajikistan (NABWT), Tajikistan Ms Sharipova is a well-known businesswoman and one of the driving forces behind micro credits in Tajikistan.

After the Tajik economy collapsed in the early nineties, in 1994 Ms Sharipova and her partner established the National Association of Business Women of Tajikistan (NABWT), the first women organization in the country. Ms Sharipova managed the association’s activities based in Khujand. NABWT was involved in organizing trainings for women and as of today, more than 10,000 women have been trained.

Among the many achievements of NABWT are “Gulrukhsor” a crisis center for women and the establishment of the youth organization called “Junior Achievement of Tajikistan”. In 1995, NABWT initiated a microlending programme “Imon”. Under the leadership of Ms Sharipova, the programme broadens to also include men. It went through several transformations: from the programme to a fund and from the fund to LLC Microlending Organisation “Imon International”. Ms Sharipova was elected as the CEO in 2005 and has successfully managed the company since then. Imon International has USD 29m in its portfolio distributed among 26,818 borrowers, of which 1/3 are women. It has 34 lending outlets covering all remote areas in the country. Imon’s long term strategy is to become a dedicated microfinance bank.

Women in Business Awards 2009

Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Mukhabat Teshaeva is the General Director and owner of Shahboz Shahrom, a synthetic carpet and moquette production company in Uzbekistan. Ms Teshaeva started a micro business in 1992 with an initial investment of about US$ 1,000 and went on to establish Shahboz Shahrom in 1998. In 2008 the EBRD provided a US $1.5 million loan to finance the company's expansion. Ms Teshaeva, sole owner of Shahboz Shahrom, is one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan.

Outstanding Achievement in the Financial Sector

Nejira Nalic is the Managing Director of MI-BOSPO, a microfinance institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Set up to help displaced women during the Bosnian war, MI-BOSPO grew from a humanitarian organisation to become one of the leading microfinance institutions in the country. MI-BOSPO is presently serving more than 31,000 low-income women entrepreneurs and has almost doubled its loan portfolio since 2006 to €38 million in 2008. Loans vary from €500 to €15,000.

Outstanding Achievements in Industry

Marina Sedykh is the General Director of Russia's Irkutsk Oil Company. Ms Sedykh is also one of the founders of the company and is currently the only female General Director in the Russian oil industry. Irkutsk Oil is a regional leader in oil and condensate production and presently employs over 1,000 people. Besides being a major employer in the Irkutsk region, it also provides heating oil and gas to the municipalities, making it affordable to locals. Irkutsk Oil operates 11 oil and gas fields in the Irkutsk region. Sales revenue in 2008 totalled 3.4 billion roubles and investments in environmental activities increased seven-fold in comparison with those made in 2007.

Women in Business Awards 2008

Outstanding Achievement in the Energy Sector

Gulnara Artambayeva from Kazakhstan is CEO of TsATEK Holding (Central Asia Fuel and Energy Company). TsATEK has emerged as a major strategic private investor in the power sector in Kazakhstan. TsATEK, with total assets of US$ 800 million and around 11,000 employees, has majority stakes in companies in the energy, industrial and financial sectors. TsATEK’s key strengths are quick decision making and Mrs Artambayeva’s “yes, we can”, attitude which has projected the company to its current position.

Outstanding Achievement in Banking

Tatiana Vysokova from Russia is a Member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Auditing and Compliance Committee of Bank “Center-Invest” Bank, which has assets of US$ 1.6 billion. Ms Vysokova founded “Center-Invest” in 1992 and became its first CEO. It has now become the leading private bank in the Rostov-on-Don region and one of the largest in southern Russia. It has a wide network of branches, specialising in lending to micro, small and medium-sized companies.

Outstanding Achievement in Industry

Filya Zhebrovska from Ukraine is Chairman of the Board and General Director of Farmak. She joined Farmak in 1980 as a Chief Accountant and served as Financial Director from 1990 until her appointment to the position of General Director in 1995. Under Ms Zhebrovska’s management, the company has evolved and Farmak has become Ukraine’s leading pharmaceutical producer with dynamic growth rates. Farmak employs over 1,100 people and has manufacturing facilities conforming with international best practice.

Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Alenka Žnidaršič Kranjc, from Slovenia, is CEO and founder of Prva pokojninska družba d.d. (PPD), the second largest voluntary pension fund in Slovenia with consolidated assets €119 million and over 72,000 individual clients. From 1994 to 1998, Ms Kranjc held various positions in KBM Infond, one of the largest Slovenian fund management companies. She holds a doctorate in Economic Sciences and has authored eight books on management and investments as well as publishing over 160 articles.

 

Women in Business Awards 2007

Outstanding Achievements in Industry

Bat-Ochir Erdenechimeg is Executive Director of Mongolian construction materials company Hungunbeton.

Outstanding Achievement in Banking

Tatyana Yurina is the CEO of Forus Bank, Russia’s oldest microfinance bank. More than 75 per cent of Forus’s clients are women and, since Ms Yurina’s appointment as CEO last year, the bank has made more than 100,000 loans to micro-businesses.

Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Ms Bezverbnaya founded her telephone inquiry service, DIAS 516, with a 30,000 rouble loan which she obtained after providing her fur coat as collateral. She urges other women entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.

Women in Business Awards 2006

Outstanding Achievement in Banking

Elena Petculescu is one of the most experienced bankers in Romania who has also contributed to the successful business development of the Romanian banking sector. She was instrumental in establishing Bank Post (BP) as a specialized commercial and today one of the most dynamic banks in Romania. Mrs Petculescu was also the president of the Romanian Banking Association (RBA) and the key initiator of the Romanian Credit Bureau (RCB).

Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Maria Boyadjieva is President and owner of DOFI, a private furniture production company based in Kardjali, Bulgaria, which she founded in 1993. She mortgaged her own house to get a loan to start her business. Mrs Boyadjieva’s high ambitions and excellent managerial skills have led the company to a significant growth during the years.

Outstanding Achievement in the Corporate Sector

Nevenka Cerovsky is vice-president of finance at Atlantic Grupa d.d.(Serbia), a leading distributor of fast moving consumer goods in south-eastern Europe. Under her leadership, Atlantic Grupa was the first limited liability company in Croatia to issue corporate bonds that are traded on the Zagreb Stock Exchange. Ms Cerovsky won the Euromoney award for Corporate Governance in 2002 when she was CFO of Podravka. In 1996, as the financial director of Pliva, she led the company's London Stock Exchange listing. She was a member of the State Tax Advisory of the Croatian ministry of finance and of the Supervisory Board of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, and a treasurer of the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia.

Women in Business Awards 2005

Outstanding Achievement in the Corporate Sector

Cristina Pirvulescu is Executive Manager of Department of External Credits in Bucharest. She manages a debt portfolio of nearly €400 million for an investment programme of more than €800 million. During her tenure, the city has negotiated a €51.5 million loan with EBRD to fund key investments in urban transport, renovation of the historic centre and district heating.

Outstanding Achievement in Banking

Nina Zhussupova is the Chairman of the Management Board of Kazkommerzbank – the largest bank in Kazakhstan. Ms Zhussupova's leadership ensured the bank's excellent performance and success in the local and international markets.

Outstanding Achievement in Government

Gordana Matkovic is a former Minister of Social Affairs for the Government of Serbia. She reformed social institutions and delivered improved social security. She has worked on several projects for the World Bank, the Serbian government, UNDP, UNICEF and other domestic and international clients. She is a visiting professor for the Masters Programme in Demography at the School of Economics in Belgrade University.