World Bank Group Event Calls for Women’s Empowerment in Post-Conflict Situations
UN Photo/Mark Garten
story highlights

At a Spring Meetings side event on ‘Empowering Women in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings,’ Kristalina Georgieva, WBG CEO, described gender equality as "good economics," and highlighted the World Bank’s US$1 billion vehicle for women entrepreneurs.

Lina Khalifeh, SheFighter Self-Defense Training founder and entrepreneur (Jordan), said she started her business with self-defense classes for women in her parents’ basement after a friend in college came to class bruised following a beating by male members of her family.

Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of Netherlands, said governments and international organizations must show women in refugee situations that they have high ambitions for them.

19 April 2018: At a World Bank Group (WBG) side event during the 2018 Spring Meetings, participants explored women’s empowerment in fragile and conflict-affected settings. The event brought together government leaders and women entrepreneurs living and working in fragile settings.

The event titled, ‘Empowering Women in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings,’ took place on 19 April 2018. Opening the meeting, Kristalina Georgieva, WBG CEO, described gender equality as “good economics,” and mentioned the World Bank’s US$1 billion vehicle for women entrepreneurs.

Lina Khalifeh, SheFighter Self-Defense Training founder and entrepreneur (Jordan), said she started her business with self-defense classes for women in her parents’ basement, after a college friend came to class bruised following a beating by male members of her family. Since 2010, she said, SheFighters has trained 15,000 women worldwide, including 3,000 Syrian women in refugee camps.

Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and Cooperation of Egypt, said 2017 was “The Year of the Woman” in Egypt and, for the first time, the country has six women ministers in government, which has enabled Egypt to better include women’s issues in law-making processes. She noted that a new investment law in Egypt provides for equal access by gender to land, finance and investment opportunities.

Patricia Veringa-Gieskes, CEO of The Job Factory DRC, highlighted the importance of women entrepreneurs as change makers, and welcomed the opportunity for more women to hold positions that allow them a seat at the decision-making level. Sigrid Kaag, Netherlands’ Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, said that governments and international organizations must show refugee women that they have high ambitions for them, as these women do triple jobs as mothers, caretakers and providers of income.

Thikra Alwash, Mayor of Baghdad, said the conflict with Da’esh has affected the economy, which in turn has affected financing and economic opportunities for women. Still, there are many women-led projects all over Iraq in a myriad of sectors, she said, calling to include women’s voices is in the peace and reconciliation process. She underscored the need for men to act as champions for women’s rights.

Diane Jacovella, Global Affairs Canada, encouraged women, in all their roles, to speak up. She noted the need for a strong civil society, which means supporting local women’s organizations.

The WBG and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings took place from 16-22 April 2018, in Washington DC, US. [World Bank Spring Meetings Website][World Bank Group Event Summaries] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on Spring Meetings]


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