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Gender equality

Development finance institutions (DFIs) are playing an important role in providing capital to support gender equality, the value of women in leadership and markets and women’s economic empowerment worldwide.

Defining what investing in women actually means, together with other investors

In November 2018, Finnfund joined a new Gender Finance Collaborative. Through collaborative dialogue and a shared commitment to action, the collaborative is aiming to advance the standard and the vision for the future of gender smart investing and to move more capital, more strategically, from within the DFI community and private sector co-investors.

2x challenge logoIn May 2019, Finnfund joined the 2X Challenge.  In 2021, the 2X Challenge announced that it would raise $15 billion for gender-lens investment after surpassing its original target by 100 per cent. Finnfund’s first project eligible for the 2X Challenge was the EUR 15 million investment in Indian company Annapurna Finance Pvt Ltd, which offers microloans and related financial literacy education, mainly to poor women in rural India.

In 2020, Finnfund became one of the signatories of the Paris Development Banks Statement on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (pdf) announced during The Finance In Common Summit.

Finnfund is a member of 2X Global, a network engaging the full spectrum of investors committed to promoting inclusive investments.

Gender statement guides all our investment decisions

The promotion of the rights of women and girls is a long-term priority of Finnish development policy and one of the key objectives of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. In March 2019, Finnfund adopted a statement on promoting gender equality. The document compiles the measures through which Finnfund guides its investment decisions to better promote gender equality, women’s role in the markets, and women’s economic empowerment. Today, Finnfund assesses all new investments through gender lens and supports the investees in identifying gender potential and areas for improvement.

You can read the full text of the Gender Statement here.

Read more news and blog posts about gender lens investing here.


Examples of gender lens investing

Accelerating female leadership in Asia

Finnfund’s investee BOPA is funding and developing microfinance institutions in Asia and has recently joined the 2X Challenge. One of BOPA’s portfolio companies, Asian Credit Fund LLC, is led by Zhanna Zhakupova, one of the few female leaders in the financial sector in Kazakhstan.

Penda Health saw something special in Esther Mwikali

When Finnfund assesses the gender equality in the portfolio companies, Penda Health always stands out: nearly 70% of their staff are women. Women can be found at all levels in the organisation, from support staff to board of directors. Half of their management team are women. The CEO is female.

Women leadership in microfinance

Finnfund’s investee BOPA is funding and developing microfinance institutions in Asia and has recently joined the 2X Challenge. One of BOPA’s portfolio companies, Pahal Financial Services Private Limited, is led by Purvi Bhavsar who is also co-founder of the company.

BCS brings female role models into a male-dominated sector

Our recent investee Bandwidth and Cloud Services Group (BCS) is a telecom infrastructure provider operating in several African countries. During the investment process, we got impressed by BCS’s track record of empowering women for higher positions.