Skopje, 7 March 2023
“Societies with greater gender equality are considered safer, healthier, with less violence and larger cohesion. But, the greater integration also brings a large number of economic benefits, not only to women, but also to the entire society.” This was emphasized by Anita Angelovska Bezhoska, Governor of the National Bank, at the International Women's Leadership Forum Women Making History, organized by the University of Tourism and Management. Moreover, she pointed out that empirical analyses suggest that the larger involvement of women in labor force can increase the economic growth in the developed countries by 10%, and in the less developed countries up to 30%.
“Unfortunately, the data indicate insufficient integration of women globally.” Angelovska Bezhoska said, speaking about the share of only 47% of the total number of active women in the labor market, thus adding: “the several consecutive crises adversely affected women and led to smaller as opposed to larger involvement of women, which is evident from the fact that only in the first pandemic year about 54 million women exited the labor market globally, and it is estimated that 90% of them on a permanent basis.”
Angelovska Bezhoska referred to the differences in the gender representation in the Macedonian economy, underlining that only 45% of women are active in the labor market, unlike men where this rate is around 65%. Moreover, she pointed out that the differences in the rates of the share of women and men in the labor market point to a gender gap, which is slightly smaller than the average of the region of the Western Balkans, but larger than the gap in the EU where it amounts to 11%. She added that the labor market also registered segregation in relation to the managing positions, i.e. men prevail in the jobs with a higher status, and women hold managing positions more rarely. In the companies, according to 2020 data, women occupy only 21.3% of the high managing positions. This also leads to a larger wage gap.
Assessing that the conditions in our financial sector are unsatisfactory and that they do not differ much from the global trends in the banking industry, as well as in the most developed economies, the Governor pointed out that the world of finance is still predominated by men, stressing that in banks only 31% of the total number of members of the Management and the Supervisory Boards are women, and in some of the banks there are no women in the bank’s management at all.
"The National Bank is a good example of gender equality not only in the domestic context, but also in the international one. We are proud that last year our central bank was ranked first in the world by equality in the central-banking community”, Angelovska Bezhoska said, referring to the results and the announcements by the reputable British think-tank OMFIF, whose Index measures the share of women in the management of the institution. She added: “Overall, central-banking operations are predominated by men. From around 185 central banks in the world, only 17 are managed by female governors”.
Considering the existence of differences in the gender representation, Angelovska Bezhoska emphasized that the central bank intensively works on the improvement of the gender equality by taking activities in the area where it can contribute, such as the improvement of the access of women to finance, which globally is mainly smaller for the female population. She added: "One of the important aspects is strengthening the efforts to promote female entrepreneurship. Increasing economic share of women - especially in small and medium-sized enterprises, can reduce poverty and foster inclusive growth, because these enterprises contribute to 74% of employment and 68% of value added.”
“Gender equality as an issue wriggles through the decades everywhere, so in our country as well. But, as long as we all make efforts together, and as long as we have women holding managing positions in all areas of society, we also have the certainty that gender equality is feasible in all segments.” - the Governor Angelovska Bezhoska said.
The Governor of the National Bank was part of the panel discussion Women that Drive the Business, held within the International Women's Leadership Forum. Besides the Governor, the panel discussion was also attended by Sanja Lukarevska, Director of the Public Revenue Office, Emilija Spiroska, Member of the Management Board of ProCredit Bank, Ülker Şule Aksoy, Director General of Turkish Airlines Macedonia, Aneta Peseva, General Manager of UNET and Honorary Consul of Canada, Merita Ramadani Alimi, owner of the company Dogan and Sanja Bozhinovska, Energy Adviser in Prague.