UN Women launches Innovative Gender Financing Initiative

Date: Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Innovative Financing and Gender Lens Investment Initiative was launched as part of the Win-Win Programme: "Gender Equality is Good Business", a joint programme of UN Women, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and supported by the European Union (EU).

The initiative brings together investors and other players in the entrepreneurial and financial ecosystem for the search and dissemination of business opportunities with a gender perspective.

María Noel Vaeza, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean said that "Gender-focused investment triggers greater economic benefits that can have a positive impact on growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. Women have great transformative power and need access to large amounts of capital to develop their full potential, which is why we firmly believe that investing in women is not only a fundamental ethical imperative but also an excellent business proposition.”

In 2018, gender-responsive private equity instruments amounted to $2.2 billion raised. Recent studies by the International Labour Organization show how gender investment initiatives improve the business performance of global and Latin American companies.

The COVID-19 crisis is having an impact on women and girls with greater strength. With an over-representation of women in the informal sector, it is feared that existing inequities, especially the lack of access to productive resources, will increase, deepening the already existing crisis.

For her part, Isabel de Saint-Malo, Champion of UN Women's Innovative Finance Initiative, said the response to the crisis must be accompanied by targeting so that women have access to recovery funds, credit, unemployment benefits, and job recovery. The identification of women-led businesses, support for such businesses, a gender focus in value chains, and guaranteed access to innovative financial resources are necessary for building a more sustainable and inclusive society, with the full participation of women.

"It is crucial that we do not allow the current economic and social crisis resulting from COVD-19 to make us put gender equality in the background, because now more than ever it is essential to invest in it. We must look at the progress made and join forces to strengthen it," said Vaeza.

About the initiative

The Innovative Financing and Gender Lens Investment Initiative promoted by UN Women seeks to attract private sector investment, strengthen the ecosystem of gender-sensitive investments and contribute to the generation of partnerships for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5, mainly through the promotion of capital mobilization and investments oriented towards the gender lens.

The initiative is made up of a membership that can be joined by actors in the financial ecosystem (financial institutions, investors, intermediaries, promoters and/or regulators of financial policies), promoters of the entrepreneurship and business development ecosystem, capacity builders, network generators and resource mobilizers, who have an interest in actively promoting innovative financing and investment with a gender perspective in Latin America and the Caribbean.