For sixty years, the European Union has worked tirelessly to defend women’s rights and to empower them to realise their full potential. Gender equality is at the heart of the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative. It is vital to the individual lives of women as well as men, and essential for long-term democratic development. In its cooperation with Belarus, the EU is driving real change by strengthening women in business, providing opportunities for quality education and promoting a fair society.
WHAT IS BEING DONE
- Raising public awareness
Support for advocacy campaigns on gender equality and domestic violence issues
- More women in business
Making loans via local banks available for women-led enterprises
- New study and career opportunities
Offering a wide range of exchange programmes across Europe with Erasmus+
- Young women leaders
Enhancing the active participation of young women through the EU4Youth programme
WOMEN IN BUSINESS
The EU supports women entrepreneurs in Belarus through the Women in Business programme, which is implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Support provided by the programme includes business advice, training and mentoring to women-led companies, as well as finance through dedicated credit lines provided to local banks.
Find out how you can take part www.ebrdwomeninbusiness.com
“It took only 10 days to get a loan!” Find out how Women in Business helped Irina Serezhonok and her children’s clothing brand.
In 2019, 62 women entrepreneurs in Belarus received loans to a total value of more than €2.875 million under EU support programmes for SMEs, while 23 received grants worth almost €16,800. Another 286 women benefitted from consultancy services. Turnover among supported companies rose by almost than €16 million, and 1,186 new jobs were created as a result of the support.
“The key is to address challenges quickly. Our team is getting ready for European markets and expanding online sales.” Irina Rakhmanova’s Nelva clothing brand saw revenue rise 20%, and exports 45% with help from Women in Business – when Coronavirus struck, they switched to making 15,000 masks a day.
Women entrepreneurs in Belarus also have access to a range of other funding and advisory services provided under the EU4Business initiative, as well as a range of EU-funded regional development projects. Find out more www.eu4business.eu/belarus
OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG WOMEN
Through its Erasmus+ programme, the EU offers young women and men in Belarus a wide range of exchange opportunities across Europe.
Erasmus+ opportunities include:
- Scholarships to study in Europe
- Student exchanges
- Youth exchanges
- European Solidarity Corps
- Opportunities for youth workers
- Youth involvement in reform dialogue
“I regret only one thing – that I did not do it earlier." Inna Sumskaya took part in a Solidarity Corps volunteering project, working with disadvantaged children in Portugal.
Erasmus+ in Belarus: all your questions answered: https://www.euneighbours.eu/en/east/stay-informed/cards/erasmus-belarus
- EU4Youth supports young people to develop skills for jobs, and encourages and invests in youth entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.
- The EU has set a 75% target to support young women under the EU4Youth programme.
- EU4Youth funds 3 grant projects active in Belarus.
- In the period 2018-2020, 2,217 young women in Belarus benefited from training and workshops under EU4Youth grant projects, 43 became self-employed after receiving support, and 14 received grants to help them set up their business.
A FAIR SOCIETY
‘Her Business’: why shouldn’t a woman be a truck driver or a forest ranger? The EU-funded project on ‘Employment, vocational education and training’ seeks to promote vocational training in men and women, battling the stereotypes around ‘men’s and women’s jobs’.
“A woman can do anything, and she should not be limited in her choice of work.” Alena Koroleva, forester. She manages another 25 foresters, over an area of 9,000 hectares.
This regional programme, funded by the European Union across the Eastern Partnership, seeks to strengthen equal rights and opportunities for women and men by shifting social perceptions around gender roles, tackling gender stereotypes and increasing men’s participation in childcare and other domestic responsibilities.
With school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic increasing pressure on families – especially women – the project has launched a new campaign encouraging society to Look Beyond traditional masculine and feminine roles to a world where household chores and childcare have no gender.