Mobilizing Capital for Women, from Women – Are Gender-smart Products the Answer?

The Gender Lens

This panel talked about the opportunity in leveraging the massive future transfer of wealth to women and the role that GBA banks can play in catalyzing more capital for them, looking at examples from the gender lens investment field such as gender bonds, VC funds and linking to development finance institutions. Panelists discussed the role of gender smart products as well as the importance of training investment advisors to ensure buy-in.

Key Points

  1. Olga set the stage, providing an overview of the gender lens investment space: It is widely recognized that women investors have enormous interest in investing with purpose. In 2017 UBS estimated that up to US$2.3 trillion could be invested by women with an ESG and gender lens approach.
  2. At the same time, research shows that many financial institutions and advisors do not yet fully understand the Women’s Market opportunity nor how to approach it. There is a large generational transfer of wealth underway: Seven out of 10 women are inclined to change wealth managers or their banking relationship after the death of a spouse.
  3. Shelly discussed the launch of the Billion Dollar Fund for Women, a global consortium set up to mobilize and connect venture funds with institutional and other investors to create larger pools of capital for venture investments into women-founded companies.
2018 GBA Summit
  1. Jessica discussed IFC’s efforts in the gender lens investment space, highlighting the opportunity that GBA members have in leveraging their Women’s Markets efforts beyond retail banking to mobilize capital from different funding sources. In 2018, for instance, the IFC supported Garanti bank to launch a US$75 million gender bond issue —the first private sector gender bond in emerging markets dedicated to financing enterprises and companies owned or managed by women.
  2. Katie discussed OPIC’s 2X initiative, which seeks to invest US$350 million in projects that will support lending to women-owned businesses, female entrepreneurs, as well as women-owned and women-led emerging market private equity funds. She also shared the work OPIC is doing to engage with its own Investment Officers to help them better understand gender-smart investment products.
  3. The panel concluded with a discussion of the signal to the financial services sector at large that gender-smart investment products can send – increasing awareness among different types of investors and encouraging more gender responsive behavior among investment advisors.
2018 GBA Summit


Facilitator: OLGA MILER Innovator, Advisor, SDG 5 Catalyst

K. SHELLY PORGES Founder and Managing Partner, The Billion Dollar Fund for Women

JESSICA SCHNABEL Global Head, Banking on Women, IFC

KATHRYN C. KAUFMAN Managing Director for Global Women’s Initiatives, OPIC


Growth in gender-smart investment products can send an enormous signal to the sector. — Olga Miler

We are changing the paradigm for women by bringing new streams of capital into the investment space. — K. Shelly Porges

The 2X Challenge is an ambitious target that calls on DFIs to mobilize their own funds, as well as private capital, to unlock resources that will help advance women. — Kathryn C. Kaufman

GBA members can leverage their Women’s Market programs to mobilize more capital for women. — Jessica Schnabel