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Unleashing Economic Growth Potential in the Western Balkans: Improving Equity and Gender Equality in Access to Economic Opportunities

May 14, 2018

Vienna, Austria



The World Bank is hosting a meeting of Western Balkans Ministers to discuss policy options to promote gender equity in access to economic opportunities, including addressing barriers that hinder female labor force participation and entrepreneurship.

  • Promoting gender equality is smart economics. Every year, Western Balkan countries lose on average 18 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to gender gaps in the labor market—this is more than the total GDP of Serbia.

    Despite recent progress in promoting gender equality in the labor market, gaps persist. Women tend to be better educated than men, but only 2 in 5 women in the Western Balkans has a job or is even looking for one. The region is missing out on its human capital potential.

    The objective of this meeting is to discuss policy options to promote gender equity in access to economic opportunities, including addressing barriers that hinder female labor force participation and entrepreneurship, as well as agree on a pathway to overcome common challenges in the region, and promote a regional agenda for coordination, collaboration and peer-learning.

  • Download Full Agenda (pdf).

    9:00Welcome and introductory remarks
     

    Short Video - Promoting Gender Equality to Unleash Economic Growth in the Western Balkans

    Linda Van Gelder, Regional Director for the Western Balkans, World Bank

    Marie Pierre Nicollet, Head of Human Development, French Agency for Development

    9:30

    Session 1: The Economic and Social Costs of Excluding Women from the Labor Market  

    Chaired by Carolina Sanchez, Senior Director, Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank

     

    The objective of this session is to reflect on the economic and social costs of gender inequalities, and the implications of not addressing these disparities for the region’s aspirations for faster, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, and European Union accession.

    Panel:

    Senida Mesi, Deputy Prime Minister and National Coordinator for Gender Equality, Albania

    Shiret Elezi, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance, FYR Macedonia

    Dušan Vujović, Minister of Finance, Serbia

    Gallina Vincelette, Practice Manager for Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment, The World Bank

    Discussion

    10:30

    Session 2: Promoting Equality in Entrepreneurship: Property and Finance

    Chaired by Margreet Goelema, Manager of Open Regional Fund for Southeast Europe, Legal Reform, GIZ

     

    Tackling gender inequalities calls for promoting equity in access to assets (finance and land). This includes the recognition of ownership of immovable property, to ensure that women co-owners of property are registered in property titles and are decision-makers in any transaction made with such property. A low share of properties has women registered as co-owners across the region, calling for within-country harmonization of regulations and procedures for joint property registration. The objective of this session is to discuss and propose solutions to remove the legal and institutional obstacles in property registration processes that currently hinder women’s access to property, and reflect on related their impact on access to finance and entrepreneurship.

    Maria E. Dávalos, Senior Economist, World Bank (setting the stage with short presentation)

    Panel:

    Mila Carovska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy, FYR Macedonia

    Dhurata Hoxha, Kosovo Minister of European Integration

    Bojana Boskovic, Director General, Ministry of Finance, Montenegro

    Maja Peric, Assistant Minister of Finance, Republika Srpska Minister of Finance, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Mirjana Vucic, Adviser to the Minister of Finance, Federation Ministry of Finance, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Discussion

    11:30Coffee break
    12:00

    Session 3: Promoting Equality in Access to the Labor Market

    Chaired by David Saunders, Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, UN Women

     

    Promoting equality in access to labor markets calls for removing legal and institutional obstacles to labor market participation, to ensure that barriers or disincentives to work or to hire women are eliminated. Important obstacles to tackle are those around access and affordability of child and elder care, and those embedded in labor regulations, such as in family leave policies. The objective of this session is to discuss and propose solutions to remove the legal and institutional obstacles in labor regulations, access to child or elder care, and others, that keep women out of jobs.

    Marco Hernandez, Lead Economist, World Bank (setting the stage with short presentation)

    Panel:

    Edi Gusia, Head of Kosovo Gender Agency

    Dajna Sorensen, Albania Deputy Minister of Finance

    Marie Pierre Nicollet, Head of Human Development, French Agency for Development

    Ana Vukovic, Director, Gender Center of the Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Mirjana Lukac, Director, Gender Center of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Discussion

    13:00Lunch
    14:00

    Session 4: Monitoring and Evaluation and Regional Coordination

    Chaired by Goran Svilanovic, Secretary General, Regional Cooperation Council

     

    Strengthening the legal and institutional national and regional arrangements that support social inclusion is key for increased accountability and impact by better tracking the challenges and progress. The objective of this session is to discuss and propose solutions to strengthen the institutional framework on gender equality at the regional, national, and subnational levels for enhanced coordination, implementation and monitoring of gender equality commitments.

    Panel:

    Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General-Elect, Regional Cooperation Council

    Samra Filipovic-Hadziabdic, Director Gender Equality Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Ljiljana Loncar, Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister for Gender Equality, Serbia

    Discussion

    15:00Coffee break
    15:30

    Session 5: Wrap Up and Future Look

    Chaired by Linda Van Gelder, Regional Director for the Western Balkans, World Bank

     

    Summary by the session chairs.

    Open discussion on next steps.

    Endorsement of the communiqué on “Unleashing Economic Growth Potential in the Western Balkans by Improving Gender Equality in Access to Economic Opportunities”. 

    16:30Group photo
      

Event details

  • Date: 14 May, 2018
  • Time: 9:00-17:00
  • Venue: Vienna, Praterstrasse 31