UN Women – the UN organization dedicated to gender equality – has partnered with Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) – a global organization dedicated to changing financial systems and creating innovative solutions to women’s empowerment – to mobilize large-scale capital to empower underserved women through innovative finance.
With the shared goal to close the funding gap for advancing gender equality and the dedicated Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, IIX and UN Women will collaborate on a series of activities including the development of financial instruments that leverage public funding to unlock greater private capital for women; the engagement of new actors to increase investments that are sensitive to gender issues; and a commitment to measure social and economic outcomes for women beneficiaries. The partnership aims to unlock billions in capital for millions of women.
“We are delighted to be working with IIX, who brings a decade of experience in impact investing and innovative finance to the issue of financial inclusion for women,” UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said. “At this time, as the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action approaches, as well as the final decade of the 2030 Agenda, we need more innovative approaches and financial instruments such as the ones pioneered by IIX so that we can accelerate financing for underserved women around the world. This is a crucial entry point for progress across all 17 SDGs because when women have money in their pockets they make decisions that benefit entire communities.”
“This is a significant moment for IIX as we embark on our next decade of work to innovate new solutions for women’s empowerment,” IIX CEO and founder Durreen Shahnaz said. “Having pioneered the first of its kind Women’s Livelihood Bond 1 (WLB1), an US$8 million debt security impacting 385,000 women in Southeast Asia and reporting social and financial returns, IIX is preparing to launch the Women’s Livelihood Bond 2 (WLB2)—which unlocks US$100 million in private capital to benefit one million women across Asia. Through new innovations in the WLB2, we are demonstrating how innovative financial instruments can be replicated and scaled across geographies, sectors, and issues to eventually reach billions of women. I can think of no better partner than UN Women to help us realize the potential of innovative finance for SDG5.”
The SDG financing gap is estimated at US$2.5 trillion a year in developing countries. The world spends US$200 billion per year on aid yet only 4% of overseas development aid targets women.