What can we do to accelerate economic equality between men and women?
Gender inequality is both a social issue and a critical economic challenge. Harnessing and leveraging women's economic potential has the power to create jobs, drive growth and transform countries’ GDP. This could change the lives of millions of women and men while adding trillions to the global economy.
Investing in Women is an Australian government initiative led by Abt Associates and working in partnership with the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
“The project’s goal is to accelerate women's economic empowerment in the region, and in turn, contribute to inclusive economic growth in Southeast Asia,” said Jacqui De Lacy, Managing Director, Abt Australia. It aims to do so by tackling the issue on four fronts:
- Partnering with large employers to prioritise gender equality as a business imperative;
- Working with impact investors to expand women's access to capital;
- Partnering with governments to promote equality through policymaking; and
- Advocating and campaigning to challenge bias, stereotypes and attitudes that hold both men and women back.
In the business sector, Investing in Women has brought together 28 leading employers that together employ nearly 500,000 people in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Myanmar and formed four business coalitions to lead the way on achieving gender equality goals in their organisations and beyond.
Member companies are committed to advancing gender equality in their workplaces and measuring their progress using EDGE – the leading global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality.
The project works with impact investors, leveraging private capital, and helping investors apply a gender lens to their investment process and close the financing gap for women.
Impact investing partners are scaling Investing in Women pilot initiatives, with the planned launch of a US $150 million Livelihood Impact Fund, which will incorporate a specific gender lens, and a US $30 million global debt draw-down facility for women’s small and medium enterprises (WSMEs). Twenty-four WSMEs have already been trained and connected to potential investors through the Kinara Women's SME Acceleration Program.
And, Investing in Women is identifying women’s economic empowerment issues and encouraging partner governments to enact regulatory reform.
“By working in collaboration with corporations and business leaders, impact investors and entrepreneurs, governments and advocates, Investing in Women is building the business case and spearheading the campaign for women's economic equality in Southeast Asia,” said De Lacy.