EBRD: Empowering women, better societies make better economies


To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, the EBRD hosted two conferences, in Zagreb and London, this week on how to strengthen women’s role in the economy.

Opening the event in Zagreb, Croatia’s Minister for Entrepreneurship, Gordan Maras, underlined the importance of creating conditions that allow women to fulfil their potential.

EBRD Vice President Betsy Nelson said: “Much progress has been made, but a lot remains to be done”.

Unleashing the potential of women as entrepreneurs and in business not only makes society more equal and fair. It also makes economic sense, added EBRD Director for Croatia, Vedrana Jelušić Kašić.

For a more equal and open society it is imperative not only to create opportunities for women where pay and promotion are based on merit. It is equally important to change the role and behavior of men, especially in recognising their role in family life.

Mladen Pejković from Croatia’s Atlantic Group, appealed to his male colleagues to help “create more balance” in juggling careers and families.

Selma Prodanović, who supports start-ups through her company Brainswork with a special focus on women entrepreneurs, also pointed to the importance of creating equal opportunities early on and thus easing women’s way into business.

Successful examples of this approach were presented by the EBRD Small Business Support Team in the context of the Bank’s Women in Business programme.

The conference in Zagreb was followed by a second event on Friday in London. After a presentation of the EBRD’s Gender Strategy by the Bank’s Chief Social Counselor Michaela Bergman, experts and business representatives discussed ways to empower women.


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