Women around the world lack equal access to financial markets.
No matter how brilliant their ideas or how great their needs, under-served women must overcome lifetimes of stigma and pressure to be considered in the same context as men. To change that, financial markets must not only begin speaking more directly to women, but also give those women a voice — all without sacrificing investor returns.
The good news is that impact investing is gaining traction for its social and financial effectiveness alike. As issues like climate change, income disparity, and gender inequality grow more apparent, socially conscious investors are increasingly leveraging their capital to pursue returns both on paper and among real communities in need. Worldwide impact investing assets grew from $2.5 billion in 2010 to more than $500 billion in 2019.
From a distance, this growth looks incredible, but the specifics need work. Financial markets continue to neglect the needs of women, especially those who live in under-served communities. Impact investors and the Wall Streets of the world hold the keys to help women raise their voices and be heard on a global stage. If we ignore the crucial role played by women in our economies and sustainable development, it may wind up costing us the world.