April 2, 2019
Finnfund has 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. 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.
As development financier and impact investor, Finnfund promotes economic and social development in developing countries. Although global gender equality has improved in many aspects in recent years, and especially the gap between girls and boys in school attendance has narrowed significantly, women are still more likely than men to live in extreme poverty.
There are still major disparities in positions, rights and opportunities of men and women, particularly in developing countries. Women continue to do a substantial amount of work that remains invisible, their jobs are often the informal sector, and variation in salary levels and working conditions remains large. Women are typically underrepresented in formal employment, especially in managerial positions and on boards of companies. Moreover, limited property rights make it harder for women to access financial services or be able to decide on the use of land and other natural resources.
Finnfund views women’s and girls’ right to equal treatment not only as an integral human rights issue, but also as a fundamental precondition for the peaceful development of societies and a bedrock for the opportunities of future generations to live free from poverty. Equal participation of women and girls in society also strengthens economic productivity and economic growth.
Development financiers play an important role in mobilising financing to support gender equality, women’s leadership, and women’s economic empowerment in developing countries. Finnfund strives to promote investments that take gender equality into account. Finnfund also works to make such capital increasingly available to development financiers and private sector co-financiers.
The new Gender Statement is an integral part of Finnfund’s Policy on Environmental and Social responsibility. Respect for and promotion of human rights is discussed in more detail in the Human Rights Statement.
Discussions and cooperation with various stakeholders and experts have been a key element in preparing this statement. Finnfund continues to further improve its tools and processes.
”This new Gender Statement binds together all the work we have done at Finnfund over the years”, says Senior Development Impact Adviser Kaisa Alavuotunki.
”We are one of the founding members of the Gender Finance Collaborative Network which promotes ’gender smart’ investing. This network together with several civil society organisations provided extremely valuable input to our process of drafting the Gender Statement. Our goal is to better analyse the gender impact of our investments and, together with our investee companies, identify room for improvement”, Ms Alavuotunki says.
The Finnfund Gender Statement is effective as of 29 March and will be applied to all new investment decisions as well as existing investments, when applicable.
You can read the full text of the Gender Statement here.
- Finnfund joins the Gender Finance Collaborative (News 5 November 2018)
- Human rights
- Environmental and social policy
- Ownership steering
- Exclusion list
Kaisa Alavuotunki, Senior Development Impact Adviser, kaisa.alavuotunki(a)finnfund.fi, tel. +358 41 522 3693