The Western Balkan region loses up to 18 percent of gross domestic product due to the gender gap in the labour market, the World Bank warns.
Girls and women in the region, although better educated than before, still do not participate equally in the labour market, and even when they do, they are more likely to be employed in poorly-paid low-skilled jobs.
During the workshop, “Unleashing Economic Growth Potential in the Western Balkans By Improving Equity and Gender Equality in Access to Economic Opportunities”, government officials from the six Western Balkan countries joined the World Bank experts and representatives from international organizations to discuss the economic and social costs of excluding women. Also discussed were the benefits of promoting equality in entrepreneurship and access to the labor market, as well as monitoring and evaluation of progress on gender issues.
The WB’s Country Director for the Western Balkans Region, Linda Van Gelder says that “an increase in possibilities for women in the Western Balkans has a key importance for the regional growth, development and joining the EU.”
The World Bank’s Communiqué confirms a commitment to gender and equity that is aligned with ongoing efforts to strengthen regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and address common challenges. These efforts will include peer-to-peer exchanges and a mutually-agreed monitoring of progress.
These commitments are in line with Sustainable Development Goal Five to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, as well as Chapter 19 and Chapter 23 of the European Union’s (EU) Acquis Communautaire on Employment and Fundamental Rights and Access to Justice. All six Western Balkan countries are considered Candidate Countries or Potential Candidate Countries on their path towards EU accession.
This post is also available in: Italiano