Two global organizations are teaming up to realize a simple yet still-elusive goal: giving women more economic opportunities.
UN Women, an extension of the United Nations focused on gender equity, will be working with multinational investment firm BlackRock to find ways of lifting women up by way of targeted investments.
Specifically, they will be allocating funds for firms and organizations that, as stated in a press release, “address women’s needs in education, financial services, childcare, healthcare, and other sectors.” Also known as gender lens investing, the practice is designed to get critical funding to ventures in both the public and private sectors whose missions could achieve financial returns for women.
UN Women deputy executive director Anita Bhatia said in the press release that the effort could help create “a world in which all women and girls can exercise their basic human rights and can unlock their full economic and social potential.”
As research has shown, women’s economic empowerment can benefit everyone. Beyond boosts in productivity, lifting women up financially also sparks increases in gross domestic product for nations that prioritize it.
Yet at present, the global economic picture for women is grim. Roughly 2.4 billion women worldwide fall behind men when it comes to economic rights and participation. The pandemic further disproportionately harmed women’s financial and career prospects. Even literal investments in women are now shrinking, with research firm Pitchbook finding that women got just 2% of all venture capital awarded in 2021.
That’s part of why Isabelle Mateos y Lago, global head of the Official Institutions Group at BlackRock – which has made a concerted effort of late to support women – hopes this partnership will yield “positive real-world outcomes alongside competitive financial returns.”
Bhatia added that she wants to see this effort “make a real impact and to catalyze global markets to bring gender lens investing to the fore.”