Call for Gender Equality: International and local finance sectors join global initiative

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Ivana Fernandes Duarte, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, Koba Gvenetadze, the President of the National Bank of Georgia, Nino Kurdiani, the CFO of Georgian Stock Exchange and Kaori Ishikawa, the UN Women Georgia Country Representative ringing the bell for gender equality. Photo: UN Women/Leli Blagonravova
Ivana Fernandes Duarte, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, Koba Gvenetadze, the President of the National Bank of Georgia, Nino Kurdiani, the CFO of Georgian Stock Exchange and Kaori Ishikawa, the UN Women Georgia Country Representative ringing the bell for gender equality. Photo: UN Women/Leli Blagonravova

With the support of UN Women and the Georgian Stock Exchange, the international and local banking and finance sectors have united for the empowerment of women. The annual global initiative “Call for Gender Equality” has been held in Georgia once again, focusing on the significant role that can be played by the banking and finance sectors in achieving gender equality.

The event was attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, the UN system, international and local financial institutions, civil society, government agencies and business associations. Helene Sand Andresen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Norway, welcomed the participants and noted that Georgia has a long history of fighting for gender equality: “Many of you will agree that we have a long way to go to achieve substantive equality, including in the private sector. Because of social stereotypes or inherent structural barriers, women are underrepresented in managerial positions and earn much less than men.”

In general, gender equality is an important contributing factor to economic growth. According to a recent McKinsey study, companies with a gender-balanced, diverse work environment earn 15 per cent more profit. The presence of women on boards of directors has a direct impact on the improvement of financial indicators. Koba Gvenetadze, President of the National Bank of Georgia, underscored this issue in his address: “Gender inequality affects the economy. The active involvement and equal participation of women in economic or public life is critical to the development of the country, especially in such times of crisis as now.” Mr. Gvenetadze further informed the participants about the concrete reforms implemented in the National Bank in the field of gender equality.

Pandemics and other political and economic crises are hampering progress on gender equality, especially in developing countries. Against this background, the role of the Georgian banking and financial sector is becoming even more important, as it can support gender equality, create examples of positive change and make a tangible contribution - not only in the development and growth of concrete businesses but also in the growth of the country’s economy as a whole. At the event, representatives of international and local financial institutions and commercial banks discussed these opportunities and challenges, followed by discussion of possible plans for joint cooperation.

The event was part of the women’s economic empowerment component of the project “Good Governance for Gender Equality in Georgia”, which is supported by the Norwegian Government.