Early last month, Oikocredit US board member, Sara Price, attended the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver, Canada.
Women Deliver is a jam-packed three-day conference which attracts more than 6,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists from around the world to discuss how to accelerate progress for girls and women everywhere. Oikocredit partner, Pro Mujer International, led presentations, table talks, and discussion sessions at the conference. Below, Sara Price recounts her experience meeting with members of Pro Mujer, like-minded international organizations, and the conference overall.
Hello, Sara! Thank you for attending the Women Deliver Conference on behalf of Oikocredit US. Can you tell us about the event(s) you attended?
The conference was excellent! I attended a special luncheon hosted by our partner Pro Mujer, with food generously donated by Oikocredit International. There was a table discussion on Gender Smart Investing in Latin America. Leaders from the gender-investing field gathered to discuss strategies and innovations that focus on gender disparities and support gender-smart investing. Pro Mujer hosted and participated in several more events over the three days that I unfortunately could not attend, including a presentation from their CEO titled "The power of money - Investing in girls and women" and the Innovathon2019, where 30+ organizations from around the world gathered to find solutions to end gender-based violence.
It all sounds incredible! What were some of the main takeaways from the Gender Smart Investing discussion?
Pro Mujer and the rest of the table participants are doing amazing work in the Gender Smart Investing (GSI) field. GSI integrates gender-based factors into investment strategy and analysis in order to empower women and advance gender equity. Part of the discussion involved social impact research which has shown over the years that a greater proportion of additional family income earned by a female is invested back into health and education than what is earned by the male in traditional roles. Another part of the discussion was the overall global impact of capital invested with a gender lens. GSI is increasing (up to $2.2 billion in 2018).
Pro Mujer is mainly focused on investing in women in Latin America, but there were also examples of international groups (in Canada, the US, and abroad) sharing strategies that have worked so far, as well as exciting upcoming plans. Over the course of 30 years, Pro Mujer has disbursed an estimated $3.6 billion in individual and small loans. Oikocredit as an international cooperative can be proud of our gender investment rate reaching 90% women, which is much higher than the industry standard. The Canadian government has also announced a new “gender smart” fund of $300M and will be hosting an event with Oikocredit Canada this summer.
How can investors do better in the Gender Smart Investing field?
One of the best things organizations can do is compile more data on the quantitative social impact of investments made, particularly in the field of GSI, and collect measurements on the ESG (environmental, social, and governmental) impacts of those investments. Those insights help investors target innovative products that meet a wide range of investment criteria in the rapidly growing market of impact investing. On the ground, investors need to work to target women as best as possible. This means the marketing, language, and products offered appeal to women in need and the women know how to access services. Pro Mujer, among other Oikocredit partners, have done an excellent job making their services accessible to women in Latin America, gathering data and research to show the implications, and attracting other large-scale organizations to collaborate with. When we all work together in Gender Smart Investing, progress out of poverty can be made much more quickly.
Thank you again, Sara! We appreciate your insights and experience!
To learn more about Pro Mujer: https://www.oikocredit.coop/what-we-do/partners/partner-detail/11099/pro-mujer-programas-para-la-mujer
To learn more about the Women Deliver Conference: https://womendeliver.org/
To learn more about Gender Smart Investing: https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/exxDCKrEvTJoW5iMy6vF?domain=oikocredit.coop