Women are a fundamental and increasingly influential part of the world economy, if we invest in their business, the benefits are for everyone.
The opinions expressed by employees are personal.
In Latin America, the trend of women entrepreneurship is growing year after year. In Mexico, I have seen how low-income women are responsible for moving their families forward. Such is the case of Rafaela, who, after being widowed, with a loan was able to grow his typical biscuit and candy business in Oaxaca, and thus ensure the development of his family.
Women invest 90% of our income in our families and communities, unlike men who invest only 40%, according to the (International Finance Corporation).
However, there are still barriers that prevent women from thriving in the labor and business market.
Women-led SMEs face many challenges when it comes to finding financing options, many of which have heavy collateral requirements and unfavorable interest rates.
These challenges together make it increasingly difficult for women to start, build and expand their businesses.
Financial support throughout Latin America is not enough either. Only 10% of funds that come from an impact investment support women-led companies and only 5% of capital funds support women-led companies according to IFC.
Betting on investment with a gender approach is a way to break these barriers, accelerate gender equality and create a solid and healthy economy.
Here are five reasons why we consider investing with a gender approach can impact your business in a positive way:
1. Higher returns and better performance : Companies that have the highest percentage of Women in Leadership Positions (MPL), outperform those with the lowest proportion of women in terms of return on investment and assets (ROE, ROA), according to a report from . Additionally, if women had an identical role in the labor market than men, approximately $ 28 billion would be added to the global gross domestic product (GDP) per year by 2025, according to projections of. We are convinced of this, so 60% of our employees are women.
2. Economic spill that generates a clear social benefit : Strengthening the income of women entrepreneurs and those actively participating in the workforce, has a powerful multiplier effect. Between 2000 and 2010, more than 70 million women joined the workforce , which was an important factor in reducing 30% of extreme poverty in Latin America. In our case, we provide loans to women such as Mrs. Donají in Xalapa, Veracruz, who fulfilled her dream of opening a sewing workshop in which she supports single mothers, which is vital to transform not only women's lives, but also An entire society.
3. Market and financial sector opportunities: The majority of women entrepreneurs in the region, which reaches 73%, report not having accessed financial services or having access to insufficient financial services , with respect to their needs. The gap in access to credit for micro businesses and SMEs led by women in Latin America is considerable: $ 5 billion and $ 93 billion respectively. Pro Mujer works closely with investors such as Deekten Impact, where a $ 35 million fund called the Ilu Women's Empowerment Fund is promoted.
4. Potential for innovation and development of new sectors : There are thousands of business opportunities in sectors dedicated to solving social or environmental problems that mostly affect women and girls. However, according to, only about 11% of social enterprises have impact models with a gender perspective . That is, they are businesses whose purpose is to generate equity between women and men, or to offer solutions to problems that disproportionately affect women and girls. Each year, Pro Mujer together with Johnson Johnson leads training in Argentina to demystify the issue of menstruation, educate young people and provide hygiene products.
5. Women investors strengthen impact investment: Globally women control more than 20 billion dollars of wealth in the world and this figure will continue to grow in the future. This is great news for impact investment, as studies reveal that 84% of women are interested in their investments having a social and environmental impact approach.
Based on 30 years of experience in working with women-led businesses, Pro Mujer recognizes that there are not enough institutions that focus on the economic empowerment of women-led SMEs, despite the important role they play within society.
As part of its efforts to move towards gender equality through smart investment, Pro Mujer seeks to join forces with different actors in the impact sector and leads the first edition of the.
This forum will be held on February 18 within the framework of the Mérida Yucatán and will aim to bring together investors, key actors of the impact ecosystem, NGOs and entrepreneurs in a space of trust to generate an honest and open dialogue that invites exchange of experiences, good practices and co-creation of innovative solutions to move towards gender equality.
We know that it is the ideal time to generate a common agenda towards gender equality, so our objectives are to put on the table complex social and environmental problems, and by using a gender lens contribute in an innovative and sustainable way to your solution. Additionally, we will seek to identify the gaps to advance investment with a gender approach, both for investors and for entrepreneurs; as well as providing tools to investors who want to understand how to apply a gender approach in their investment analysis. We invite you to continue the conversation on the subject.