"Economic participation and opportunity" is one of the areas where inequalities between women and men are still the widest. By looking at all our investments through a gender lens we aim to empower woman and reduce inequalities.
Even before the Corona pandemic, women were, in general, paid less, held lower skilled positions and did not have the same perspectives as men, e.g., due to limited access to finance. In combination with climate change, the Corona pandemic has had a particularly significant impact on women in developing countries.
Invest in Women. Invest in the world.
Promoting gender equality and empowering women to participate in and benefit from the economy is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. Research suggests that the global gross domestic product could increase by as much as USD 28 trillion if women played the same role in labour markets as men (McKinsey). Women also make the majority of household purchasing decisions worldwide (BCG). They typically invest their financial resources more strongly in their families and local communities which creates positive long-term development effects such as better food and education for children and higher volumes of savings.
Gender Lens Investing
Development finance institutions (DFIs) play an important role in providing capital to help bridge the economic gender gap and to advance women as entrepreneurs, business leaders, employees, and consumers by investing in women’s access to finance, quality jobs and services that benefit them.
2X Challenge: Financing for woman
The 2X Challenge was launched in June 2018 by the DFIs of the G7 countries with the goal to jointly mobilise a total of USD 3 billion by the end of 2020. This initial goal was surpassed by 100% with members committing a total USD 6.88 billion and mobilising another USD 4.5 billion in gender-smart investments. By the end of 2022, the initiative aims to raise a further USD 15 billion.
The five 2X criteria define what it means to invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment: entrepreneurship. leadership, employment, consumption, and intermediated investment. Today, these criteria are regarded as the global industry standard for gender-lens investors that investors use as guidance.
OeEB’s approach to Gender Lens Investing
In late 2020, OeEB was among the most recent DFIs to join the 2X Challenge and to formally adopt and incorporate the 2X criteria into its impact measuring system. This shows OeEB’s commitment to supporting women’s economic empowerment and reducing gender inequality which is anchored in our strategy 2019-2023 as a cross-sector goal.
As outlined in our Gender Action Plan, which was published in early 2020, gender-lens investing is the approach we have chosen to reach this goal. This means that we incorporate a gender analysis into our investment process to make better investment decisions that avoid discrimination and specifically help empower women.
Through our investments, we aim to increase access to capital for businesses which are owned and led by women, to promote gender-equitable workplaces and to support companies which develop products and services that can directly improve the lives of women and girls.
The transformative impact of Gender Lens Investing
With a view to strengthening our efforts to promote gender equality, OeEB together with DEG commissioned a research study on the transformative impact of gender lens investing.
This research study provides insights on how activities of DFIs and other investors can sustainably contribute to a transformation of root causes that perpetuate gender inequalities.
Alongside a literature review, the study encompasses an assessment of OeEB's and DEG's investment portfolio performance on the 2X Challenge, exploratory interviews with experts in the field and three case studies with DEG and/or OeEB clients.