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January 22, 2019

Finnfund invites comments on the draft Statement on Gender Equality

Preparing to its statement on gender equality, Finnfund wishes to give all those willing to comment on the first draft a chance to do so. Comments can be submitted until 4 February.

Finnfund’s mission is to build a better world by investing in responsible and profitable businesses in developing countries. The promotion of gender equality, and in particular, the promotion of the status and rights of women and girls, is essential to this role.

On 28 August, we organised a roundtable discussion on vulnerable groups and promotion of gender equality. The discussion was part of the preparation of both Finnfund’s human rights statement and the statement on gender equality. The human rights policy was finalised at the end of the year and is valid as of the beginning of this year. Preparing for the statement on gender equality continues – the aim is to get it ready in the spring. The statement will be an integral part of Finnfund’s Policy on Environmental and Social responsibility.

The starting point is the idea that Finnfund’s role in promoting gender equality is particularly significant in its investment activities which often entail promoting the status and rights of women as members of their working communities, local communities, and as consumers of products and services. In addition, Finnfund strives to follow best practices in fostering a responsible and equal working culture within in its own organisation.

Last November, Finnfund joined the The Gender Finance Collaborative. Finnfund, together with other European development financiers, is committed to increase the strategic impact of investment capital toward women as business and fund leaders, entrepreneurs, a strong and valued workforce, consumers and community members. Finnfund strives 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.

Gender equality has improved – still work to be done

In general, gender equality has improved in recent years. In particular, the gap between girls and boys in school attendance has narrowed significantly worldwide. Despite positive developments, however, women are still more likely than men living in extreme poverty. Particularly in developing countries, there are still major gender disparities in opportunities to participate in society. Women are typically underrepresented in working life, especially in managerial positions and on company boards. In addition, limited property rights in many countries make it difficult for women to access financial services, for example, or to gain access to natural resources.

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. Finnfund sees the right of women and girls to equal treatment not only as an integral human rights issue, but also as a fundamental precondition for the peaceful development of societies and opportunities for future generations to live free from poverty.

Balancing the gender gap is also integral to achieving other development goals, such as those relating to health, education and better nutrition. Equal participation of women and girls in society also strengthens economic productivity and economic growth.

Finnfund will work on the statement taking into account the feedback it will receive. Finnfund will also provide its stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss the substance of the policy and the feedback received.

Statement on Gender Equality – Draft for comments (21 January 2019)

Please leave your comments here by 4 February.

For more information:

Kaisa Alavuotunki, Senior Development Impact Adviser, kaisa.alavuotunki(a), tel. +358 41 522 3693

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