Equal rights for women and men are a key pillar of sustainable development and poverty reduction. Nevertheless, women around the world are still fundamentally restricted in many areas - for example in their participation in economic life and economic opportunities. By placing our strategic focus on gender equality, we aim to empower women and reduce inequalities.

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.

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.

OeEB's gender equality strategy

Gender as a strategic key topic is firmly anchored in the 2024-2028 strategy cycle and is continuously developed as part of the OeEB Gender Action Plan. This plan was published in 2020 and describes OeEB's "gender lens investing" approach. For example, a gender analysis was included in the investment process in order to make better investment decisions, avoid discrimination and make a targeted contribution to empowering women.

OeEB's projects are classified according to the OECD Gender Markers. Also, the Development Effectiveness Rating Tool (DERa) for evaluating the gender relevance of projects has been adapted to include gender scoring based on the 2 X Challenge indicators.

Implementation of gender lighthouse projects

In addition to demand-based gender projects, the 2024-2028 strategy cycle aims to implement so-called gender lighthouse projects, which are characterised by a proactive approach.

The following approaches will be considered when implementing them: 

i.e. developing and implementing measures using OeEB instruments (including technical assistance) to close gaps which have been analysed in order to generate the highest possible impact with a review of the effects achieved and possible scalability

i.e. the further development of data collection for gender-relevant indicators

i.e. the evaluation of selected gender projects concerning the sustainability of the measures and their possible replicability, as well as the development and publication of selected case studies

i.e. the proactive implementation of projects that include obvious gender aspects

Our contribution to the SDGs

Our projects in the thematic focus area of gender make a direct contribution to SDG 5 Gender Equality.

2X Challenge: Financing for women

The 2X Challenge is a flagship initiative of 2X Global (new brand since 2023 of 2X Challenge). It 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.

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. 

Evaluation Report
Literature Review
Case Study: Kandeo Fund
Case Study: UMKA