Without equality between men and women, economic growth and sustainable prosperity that benefits everybody cannot be fully realised. That is why equality of opportunities is factored into all of SECO’s projects.
Despite the progress made, women still make up the majority of the world’s poor – a phenomenon described as the "feminisation of poverty". Women are thus the main beneficiaries of efforts to promote inclusive growth.
SECO systematically addresses the gender dimension in its activities, taking into consideration social norms, legal requirements and gender-specific opportunities and risks.
Equal opportunities for women and men is one of SECO’s key concerns, as most of the world’s poor are female.
SECO strives to achieve equal access for women and men to natural resources, vocational training, markets and services to boost their chances of finding work and participating in the economy.
SECO works alongside the World Bank to support financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa in offering better services for women. This has resulted in the BLC Bank in Lebanon hiring more female staff. The bank has developed new financial products tailored to the needs of women and increased the volume of loans to women entrepreneurs by 92 percent to USD 21 million.