On International Women’s Day, the European Investment bank and the European Investment Fund were the first EU Institutions to sign the Luxembourg Women in Finance Charter alongside 67 other major financial services firms. Designed by the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance, the Charter aims to improve gender diversity in the Luxembourg financial centre which employs more than 60 000 women and men.

The Charter was launched at a Ring the Bell for Gender Equality ceremony at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange by its founding partners, the leading industry associations ABBL, ALFI, ACA, LuxFLAG and LuxCMA, under the patronage of the Ministry of Finance, and in the presence of the first signatories.

By signing the charter, financial sector institutions and organisations underline their ambition to make the financial centre more inclusive and encourage the representation of women at all levels. They commit to setting voluntary targets to achieve greater gender balance within their firm, notably at executive and senior management level, and to publicly report on progress towards the targets.

Luxembourg Finance Minister Yuriko Backes said: “Gender equality is not just a social issue. Diversity and gender equality are macro-critical and make economic sense: more diversity leads to better decision-making and better economic outcomes for companies and for society. This is why, as Minister of Finance, I have decided to champion the creation of a national Women in Finance Charter, and act as its patron, with the aim to achieve greater gender balance in the financial sector. I congratulate the founding partners on this lighthouse initiative and I invite financial sector companies in Luxembourg to join the 69 signatories that have signed up today on this important journey.”

EIB Secretary-General Barbara Balke and EIF Chief Executive Marjut Falkstedt said: “In the workplace, we are strongly committed to embracing equity throughout the entire life and career cycle of our talented women. This guides our ambition to reach full gender equality within our institutions. To achieve this vision, we acknowledge there is still quite a way to go to reach full gender parity. We recognise the systemic barriers that may prevent women from reaching their full potential in the workplace and in society. We are addressing this by tackling gender parity at our highest levels of management and maintaining equal pay across the organisation.”

To mark the International Women’s Day, the EIB is organising a full month of events for its staff and partners under the theme #EmbraceEquity. Programme includes discussions on equal parenting rights and LGBTIQ families in the EU, diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, gender equality and women empowerment, as well as a ceremony rewarding EIB’s Women and Males Ally for the Future.

In an opinion piece published by Project Syndicate, EIB Secretary-General Barbara Balke and Vice-President Thomas Östros explain the business case for women’s climate leadership and stress that the best way to meet climate goals – and boost profits – is to put women in charge.

Carmen Niethammer, EIB’s Senior Gender Specialist, participated in a live radio interview on the Home Stretch of RTL Radio. She explained the situation of women entrepreneurs inside and outside Europe, as well as the importance of having women leaders in companies, from faster loan payback, to increased climate awareness and workforce investments. Listen to the full interview here.

The Bank is also releasing a new video series Chance for Change featuring stories of how EIB Global is changing lives around the world, including for Mai and Mee in Laos, and published a new blog story on Attadamoune, a microfinance institution in Morocco who trained women in e-commerce to help them keep their businesses running throughout the covid crisis.

Finally, this year the EIB is partnering with Plan International and One World Media to sponsor the Women’s solutions reporting awards which celebrates outstanding media coverage of solutions to current challenges, by and for women and girls. We are looking forward to sharing selected stories.

Stay tuned for more news: Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment