LONDON—More than 300 experts gathered in London on 1-2 November for the Global Gender-Smart Investing Summit, a ground-breaking international gathering of industry leaders in gender lens investing. The practice of incorporating gender considerations into financial analysis for better financial and social outcomes has grown quickly in recent years.
Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government, served as an early and core sponsor to the Summit, which provides the program with a strong platform to promote its objectives of mobilizing capital to South East Asia for women’s SMEs.
Dr Julia Newton-Howes, Investing in Women CEO, said: “Out of this sponsorship, Investing in Women looks to share our growing experience in South East Asia and learn from global trends in gender lens investing. We welcome efforts to drive industry change by continuing to build the sector’s understanding of good practice. By bringing together a wide range of interested parties to this Summit, we are hoping to develop knowledge within the sector of how to incorporate gender at each stage of the investment cycle.”
Gender lens investing can deliver financial returns while advancing several of the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It is estimated, however, that billions are needed to help fulfill the field’s potential. Earlier this year, an Investing in Women-commission report found growing interest for GLI in South East Asia, largely due to targeted market-building activities from donors, investors, and ecosystem players.
Delegates to the invite-only Summit included changemakers and global thought leaders across the investment value chain: fund and asset managers, multilateral banks and development finance institutions, pension funds, corporations, foundations and family offices, ecosystem builders, financial intermediaries, policy makers, academics, research and ratings firms, and international NGOs.
A select group of high net worth individuals and philanthropists represented catalytic capital, while inspiring entrepreneurs represent growing capital demand. The Summit had six tracks: Data; Finance as a Tool for Gender-Equitable Social Change; Tools and Learning; Public Companies, Private Markets, and More; Reaching across Sectors and Geographies; and other related topics.
Ms Amy Haddad, Head of the Gender Equality Branch of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “The Australian government is excited to sponsor the Global Gender-Smart Investing Summit. Through Investing in Women, we look to shape the growing interest in gender lens investing, whether in the Indo-Pacific region, where we primarily operate, or globally with key industry champions.”
Summit co-producer Suzanne Biegel said: “The leadership and support of Investing in Women to build the field of gender-smart investing, not only in South East Asia but globally, has been invaluable. They are demonstrating the true value of public-private partnerships. Convenings like ours have a ripple effect far beyond one event.”
Read Susan Biegel’s related piece on Gender-Smart Investing
Co-producer Darian Rodriguez Heyman added: “IW has been a catalyst to connect the people, the ideas, and the infrastructure to build this field. We are so grateful to partners like IW who have the vision and understanding of what it takes to build momentum in new markets. Because of IW, people are very clearly seeing the innovation and opportunity coming from South East Asia and that is helping to shape the market worldwide.”