INTERVIEW: IFC Sees Private Sector As Key to Better Economic Chances for SEE Women
Thursday, 09 March 2017
Creating better economic opportunities for women can boost GDP, increase productivity and generate higher return on investments in Southeast Europe (SEE) and globally, and the private sector should be the main driver of this change, Tomasz Telma, IFC regional director for Europe and Central Asia, said on Wednesday. "Empowering women is not only the right thing to do - it is also the smart thing to do," Telma said in an interview for SeeNews. "And we should remember that it is the private sector that should be the source of these opportunities for women in the region." IFC is committed to developing the private sector in SEE and supporting women entrepreneurship through direct investments and credit lines to partner banks, focusing on women who are already running their own businesses or acting as leaders of companies, the IFC official said. "[...] our main strength is in working with the companies on a micro-level, although we also have advisory activities helping the companies improve their corporate governance and gender aspects of their operations, including our women on boards advisory programme," Telma said. IFC research in the Western Balkans has shown that that aspiring women leaders often find they have to demonstrate better qualifications and credentials and build stronger networks than their male counterparts to climb the corporate career ladder, he noted. They also seem to need more time to advance professionally and become members of boards, as very few make it to the top. "But the good news is that companies in the region are well positioned to develop strategies for addressing particular challenges that women executives face," Telma said.