Wednesday Scribbles : Investing In Women

Notes from a changing world…
July 26th 

“In order for women to be fully equal with men, we need to be ‘financially’ equal with men”

–  Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-founder, Ellevest

Women entrepreneurs face more challenges in raising money than their male counterparts. Although women have nearly caught up with men in terms of the number of businesses they own, their average revenues are only $203,000 as compared to $609,000 for male-owned businesses.
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Based on spending and earning power, women represent a growth market more than twice as big as China and India combined. Women are expected to control close to 75 percent of discretionary spending by 2028.
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There is a gender investment gap. It costs professional women tens of thousands, and in some cases millions of dollars over the course of their lives. They retire with only about two-thirds the amount of money that men do. It’s a gender crisis.
In emerging economies, countries that have placed women at the center of development strategies have experienced stronger growth in their local economies as compared to those that have pushed gender-neutral policies. Advancing women’s participation across the public, private and philanthropic sectors could add an estimated $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025.
Social lenders have realized that focusing microfinance lending on women will turn out to be the most effective way to make communities more prosperous. This has led to the advent of gender lens investing – to create female-centered portfolios that put capital behind women in a more systematic way.

Over 24 million women own MSMEs in the region and the number is growing faster than those owned by men. MSMEs represent a huge part of the region’s enterprises and women are a great opportunity to strengthen Southeast Asia’s economic growth.
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According to UN statistics, 70% of women in Southeast Asia are employed in agriculture. However, millennial women in the region are changing this. Countries like Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia now find themselves in the top four economies to have more female entrepreneurs than male.
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In four markets in Southeast Asia – Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia, it was found that less than one-third of women had a formal bank account.
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A four-year Women’s Livelihood Bond has been launched in the region as the world’s first social sustainability bond. It is expected to positively influence the lives of more than 385,000 women in the region, especially in Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
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Lotus Impact, a social impact fund and incubator based in Ho Chi Minh City is practicing women effect investing in Vietnam and gender lens investing in Southeast Asia. After observing entrepreneurs in rural communities across the region, it was clear to them that investing in women would be an ideal path towards growth and development.
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Empowering women across the field, from metropolitan to rural areas, creates more opportunities not just for women but also for the entire society. It is a frequently quoted statement: ‘you educate a man, you educate an individual, you educate a woman, you educate a whole family.’ This statement is extremely insightful in understanding the benefits of scale in making a woman-centered investment.
(Disclaimer: All information quoted here is linked to the respective source articles)
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