"Women in Industry" Conference Held in Collaboration with TSKB, AFD and the Consulate General of France in Istanbul

5 March 2021
- 2 min Read

The 5th conference on women's employment which has been held traditionally every year at the French Palace in cooperation with TSKB, AFD and the Consulate General of France in Istanbul was held online under the theme "Women in Industry". The conference included a panel on "Promoting gender equality in industry and technology" and hosted senior executives from various institutions.

Industrial Development Bank of Turkey (TSKB), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Consulate General of France in Istanbul cooperated for the 5th conference on women's employment which has been held every year on the week of the International Women's Day. This year, the conference was held on Thursday, March 4 under the theme "Women in Industry".

The opening speeches of this year's online conference were delivered by Olivier Gauvin, Consul General of France in Istanbul; Serge Snrech, AFD Group Director in Turkey, and Ece Börü, TSKB CEO.

The presentation by Burcu Ünüvar, Chief Economist at TSKB, on "The Post-Covid-19 World for Women" was followed by the panel on "Promoting Gender Equality in Industry and Technology", which was moderated by Güven Sak, Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV). During the panel, Ebru Özdemir, Chairwoman of Limak Group; Sibel Bayat, Supply Chain Director at Oyak-Renault & President of Women@Renault; Zehra Öney, President of Women in Technology Association; and Ayla Hacıahmetoğlu, Global Treasury Director at Hayat Kimya, shared information and experience regarding equal opportunities in their organizations.

The performance of the companies included in the loan program increased by 25 percent

In her opening speech, TSKB CEO Ece Börü stated that, it was essential for both men and women to actively and equally participate in business and social life for Turkey's sustainable and inclusive development. "The share of women in global employment is 44% but the rate falls around 16% in industry. Financial institutions as well as the manufacturing sector plays an important role in women-friendly industrial transformation. As TSKB, we took a critical and relevant step with our valuable partner AFD, and developed the loan program for women's employment 5 years ago, which was a first in Turkey. The program first analyzes the equal opportunities practices at the companies and then offers convenient investment loans to eligible firms. We guide companies in need of development and support them to build concrete policies on equal opportunities. As of 2020 year-end, the firms included in the program achieved a 25% performance improvement in the areas of policies, training, working conditions and representation in management. We launched a similar program with the World Bank two years ago, and these collaborations enabled us to create employment opportunities for almost 1,500 women. Increasing gender equality-themed funds to reduce the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on women is among our priorities. I believe the pandemic is a very important trigger and reminder that there is no time to waste. In the coming years, we will use all our financial and non-financial capitals and continue to take concrete actions in order to improve women's employment in industry and technology, particularly for the sustainable and inclusive transformation of the real sector."

AFD devotes half of its funding to gender equality

Serge Snrech, Director of AFD Group in Turkey, also delivered an opening speech at the conference. "Gender equality lies at the heart of the strategy of both the French government and AFD. At AFD, we provide funds over EUR 12 billion in 2020. I can say that half of the funds we provide each year, has a direct impact on improving the social and economic status of women.”

France will continue to support gender equality

Olivier Gauvin, Consul General of France in Istanbul gave the first opening speech at the conference. “France is determined to support gender equality and continue to work on relevant matters. Now it is time to do more in line with the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular the SDG No. 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls."