The EBRD and gender equality

The EBRD and gender equality: overview

We value gender equality as an integral part of the EBRD's commitment to promoting sustainable and environmentally sound development across our investment and donor-funded activities. 

Gender equality is a principal element in the promotion of sound business management and the advancement of sustainable growth in the countries where the EBRD invests.

Building on the experience gained under our Gender Action Plan 2009 and the Strategic Gender Initiative, the EBRD has approved its Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality 2016-2020 which identifies the specific gender areas where the EBRD can best add value given its business model and mandate. The Strategy sets out our approach to mainstream gender equality into EBRD operations by 2020, and comes at a critical time in the continuous development of the Bank’s operations in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region.


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The Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality 2016-2020 provides for a more formal expression of engagement of the EBRD’s commitment to promoting gender equality and equality of opportunities.

It aims to increase gender equality and equality of opportunities in the countries where the EBRD invests, as an important contributor to well-functioning market economies and inclusive societies – a core component of sustainable and equitable transition.

Under the Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality, and building on our experience under the GAP2009 and the Strategic Gender Initiative, we will continue to

  • apply a degree of prioritisation on a sub-set of countries, following on from the gender gap analysis undertaken in 2015;
  • provide a targeted product offer focused on promoting access to finance, access to skills and employment; and access to services;
  • Systematically monitor and evaluate our performance.

In addition, under the EBRD’s Women in Business Programmes, which provide for a combination of financing and technical cooperation, the Small Business Support team provides grant-based support for extensive training for women starting their own businesses

Identifying, designing and assessing projects that promote equal opportunities in a specific country require a good understanding of:

  • the areas in which gender gaps are greatest;
  • what explains these gaps, i.e. what institutional, economic, social, or political characteristics of the economy they might depend on;
  • the channels through which EBRD projects might be able to influence the conditions affecting gender gaps; and finally,
  • how to find projects that might deliver gender-related systemic impact and measuring that impact.