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.
Gender Finance Collaborative
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.
In May 2019, Finnfund joined the 2X Challenge which aims to collectively mobilize $3 billion in commitments for women’s economic empowerment in developing countries. 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.
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
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.
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.
You can read the full text of the Gender Statement 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.