Mumbai, April 11, 2017—In response
to the global urgency to do more to increase women’s labor force participation,
a big part of IFC’s work globally is in reducing the gap between women
and men as entrepreneurs, employees, corporate leaders, suppliers, consumers,
and community stakeholders. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today
hosted a dialogue with CEOs and top managers from the private sector and
development institutions, with the theme #Be Bold for Change in
While there has been global progress
in reducing gaps between men and women in health and education, women still
lag behind when it comes to economic participation and political empowerment.
According to McKinsey’s “Delivering the Power of Parity: Towards a more
gender equal society”, 2016, report women’s participation at the same
level at men could add up to $28 trillion dollars to the global economy
IFC develops gender-smart solutions
that benefit women and companies alike. IFC conducts research into the
business case, assists client with advice and investments and through private
sector peer learning partnerships.
Speaking at the #Be Bold for Change
event, Mengistu Alemayehu, Regional Director, IFC South Asia, said, “Few
other successes can have the most profound and lasting contribution to
social, political, and economic advancement of humanity than achieving
gender equality and women empowerment. In this regard, IFC's approach has
been to pro-actively work towards the economic ownership and corporate
leadership of women. Today, two decades and billions of dollars of investment
in the microfinance sector later, IFC benefitted over 50 million women.
Over half of these women are in this country."
According to IFC’s report on Improving
Access to Finance for Women Owned Businesses in India, 2014, economically
empowered women are major catalysts for development, as they usually re-invest
their money in their children’s health, nutrition, and education. Reducing
gender inequality in resources and improving the status of women is ‘smart
Henriette Kolb, Head, Gender Secretariat,
IFC, said, “We are committed to being a change agent in reducing the gender
gap. This can result in both commercial and social returns for the private
IFC’s work in India has had a strong
gender component. For example, in 2016, IFC extended a $50 million loan
to YES BANK, to be used exclusively to lend to women-owned businesses in
2016. This project is part of the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility
(WEOF), the first-of-its-kind global facility dedicated to expanding access
to capital for approximately 100,000 women entrepreneurs. It was launched
by IFC, through its Banking on Women program, and Goldman Sachs 10,000
Women in 2014.
In India IFC is also partnering with
mobile-payments company FreeCharge to encourage more women entrepreneurs
to sell their products on online retailer Snapdeal, improving their financial
access through technology and digital payments. We are working to understand
why we are not getting more women sellers on the platform, get them access
to Snapdeal platform and, through that, access to finance.
Gender equality is central to the core
of the World Bank Group's goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting
shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. As part of its development agenda,
IFC is committed to creating markets for all, leading to equal opportunities
for both women and men.
India is IFC's top country exposure,
globally. IFC's committed portfolio in India is over $5 billion as of June
30, 2016. In FY16, IFC committed $1.1 billion in new investments in the
country. In addition to strengthening local capital markets in India, IFC
is focused on boosting financing in infrastructure and logistics, promoting
financial inclusion, helping create conditions to attract increased private
capital, and helping structure public-private partnerships.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector
in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our
six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most.
In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly
$19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the
private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org