Lyudmila Molokovskaya has broken one of the barriers that have long impeded women at work in Kazakhstan – she is the first woman bus driver for Almaty Electrotrans.
Ludmyila gets nothing but approval from passengers as she drives her Number 37 bus, one of a fleet of compressed-gas buses that an EBRD loan to AET, the city’s public transport provider, helped buy.
Inclusive economies as a catalyst for sustainable growth
The EBRD has developed a private sector-led inclusion model that creates pathways into jobs and training for young people, women and rural populations. The model addresses challenges that firms face due to skills shortages, a lack of diversity in their workforce, or limited access to new markets. This work includes technical cooperation (TC) activities, which form part of our investments, to support equality of opportunity for these three segments of society.
The Inclusion Technical Assistance Framework, launched in 2015, aims to achieve systemic impact and policy reform to help young people and populations in remote regions get the skills that employers require, access business finance and successfully transfer into employment or seize entrepreneurship opportunities. Korea is one of the donors that actively support our work in this area.
In 2015, the Bank adopted its first Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality to advance equal opportunities for women and men in both public and private sectors activities. The Gender Advisory Services Programme, funded in part by the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) Multi-Donor Account, helps EBRD clients remove barriers that limit women’s access to finance, employment, skills and services.
Equal opportunities for women and youth employment
Donor-funded TC activities have facilitated policy dialogue on equal opportunities to overcome legal barriers, build links between employers and educators, help companies better recruit or maximise the potential of their workforce and disseminate best practice.
In Kazakhstan, the EBRD demonstrated to the relevant authorities that there was a business case for amending the licensing system, which prevented women from working as bus drivers. We also mobilised donor funding to work with our client and address the gender gap by reforming human resource practices and provide equal opportunities. A twinning visit, funded by the Taiwanese Fund, allowed AET officials to meet public transport service providers in Taipei where they learnt best practices in human resources and customer service. Lastly, together with the United Nations Development Programme, we sparked a public debate at a regional event in Almaty on equal opportunities and public transport.
Lyudimila is no longer alone. By February 2016 AET counted three women drivers among its workforce, and plans to continue its new recruitment policy.
In Jordan, the EBRD is combating youth unemployment and supporting sustainable economic growth through two landmark projects, with funding by the SEMED Multi-Donor Account and Korea. A US$ 60 million loan will serve to regenerate the waterfront of the town of Aqaba, which faces the Red Sea. The project will include the development of two new hotels to boost tourism. In the capital, Amman, we are supporting the development of the Abdali Mall shopping and entertainment centre to stimulate inclusive and environmentally friendly regeneration in the city. In both cases, bespoke training opportunities will provide new professional skills and routes into employment for the local population, especially young job seekers.
The EBRD also helps its clients attract qualified labour – a challenge faced, for example, by Tofas, one of Turkey’s leading car-manufacturers. A TC project addresses this need. It aims to improve access to vocational training for students and establish closer partnerships with schools. By supporting the adoption of best practices in recruitment, career management and workplace behaviour, our involvement will also enable the client to attract more women into this traditionally male-dominated sector.
Over half of our activities that focus on providing employment opportunities for youth take place in Turkey and SEMED countries. Similarly, over two-thirds of projects promoting gender equality are in these or Central Asian countries.
The EBRD’s work which support gender equality and inclusion, has a significant impact – for individual companies as well as the relevant sectors and countries. These projects serve as a catalyst for change in the Bank’s region. In total, 30 such projects were signed in 2015, making a real difference to the everyday lives of people like Lyudmila.