Agenda 2030 promises to put an end to barriers that prevent women and girls from realizing their full potential. But significant challenges lie ahead. Women live in extreme poverty to a larger extent than men and are up to 11% more likely than men to report food insecurity[1]. Worldwide, men own 50% more wealth than women[2] and the 22 richest men have more wealth than all women in Africa[3].

Countries with gender equality have achieved more in relation to sustainable development, and studies show that companies with a more equal representation of women and men in leading positions are more innovative, generate more growth and better results. Hence, initiatives which strengthen gender equality within Swedfund’s portfolio companies have the potential to improve the companies’ performance in all of Swedfund’s three pillars: impact on society, sustainability and financial viability. Swedfund seeks to fully integrate Gender and aspects of Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in the investment process rather than handling it as an isolated issue.

Collaborations with carefully selected partners

To align our efforts and amplify our impact, we collaborate with selected partners. One key initiative is the 2x Challenge - a global investment initiative with the goal to commit 3bn USD to financing for women in developing countries by 2020. The 2x secretariat has established criteria that define a gender investment, supported by empirical evidence that they promote benefits for women. Furthermore, the Gender Finance Collaborative forms a joint DFI initiative in championing Gender smart investments with working groups around Gender lens tools, case studies and a joint gender pipeline.

Through these initiatives, Swedfund also contributes to the build-up of an evidence-base for the social and financial returns of Gender smart investments – an important message to highlight investors’ role in achieving Gender equality, Agenda 2030, and accelerate the mobilization of capital for gender smart investments.

The Women4Growth program

Women4Growth was developed in 2014 on the basis that Swedfund saw a need to raise awareness around the importance and benefits of gender equality.

Empirically, women and girls are more likely to be found in poorly paid and precarious employment, and they do the bulk of unpaid and underpaid care work[4]. The overall aim of the Women4Growth program is to strengthen the role of women in the workplace and achieve inclusive growth. By strengthening female employees to reach their full potential, talent is released, and results show that the representation of female leaders grows, as well as an increasingly equal culture in the organization.



[2] 21 Credit Suisse (2018). Global Wealth Report 2018. us-and-china-in-the-lead-201810.html
[3] P. Espinoza Revollo (2020). Time to Care: Methodology note. Op. cit
[4] 0 L. Addati, U. Cattaneo, V. Esquivel and I. Valarino (2018). Care Work and Care Jobs for the Future of Decent Work. Geneva: International labour Organization. publ/documents/publication/wcms_633135.pdf

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