Growing Women’s Financial Power: Microfinance as a Feminist Strategy

David Gough, CFO and Vice President of Grameen America, spoke with Philanthropy Women about Grameen’s new impact fund, which will make $140 million in loans over the next five years to low income women across the country.

With every day in America bringing news of regressive political changes that will negatively impact women, it’s important for those who want to increase gender equality to explore different strategies for reaching women who need resources. One strategy that recently caught my eye was Grameen America’s announcement that, in celebration of its 10-year anniversary in the U.S., it would enter the fray of impact investing and disburse an added $11 million in capital in microloans to low-income women across the country. With this new fund, over a five-year period, Grameen will make $140 million in loans to low-income women who are struggling to get a foothold in the U.S. economy as entrepreneurs.

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How BRAVA Investments is Taking Gender Lens Investing Mainstream

Natalie Molina Nino is CEO of BRAVA Investments, which takes a value approach to investing in products and services that benefit women.

One of our goals at Philanthropy Women is to explore different ways to invest in reducing the gender gap and building a better economy — ways that operate in both philanthropy and in regular business markets. Alongside gender lens grantmaking, progressive women donors also have another important way they can deploy their capital for gender justice: gender lens investing.

One new investment instrument that recently came to our attention is BRAVA Investments, headed by CEO Nathalie Molina Niño, with partners Trevor Neilson and J. Todd Morley. BRAVA is not primarily focused on supporting women owned start-ups or getting more women into the c-suite of corporations (though this is something they look at), but on investing in industries that economically benefit employees or consumers that are disproportionately women.

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Women’s Growing Financial Power: Gender Lens Investing Explodes in 2017

This graph from Veris Wealth Partners shows the remarkable growth in Gender Lens Investing over the past three years.

Great news for the gender lens investing sector — 2017 brought a massive 41% increase in public market securities that use gender lens strategies.

A report entitled Gender Lens Investing: Investment Options in the Public Markets produced by Veris Wealth Partners has the details. Suzanne Biegel, Founder of Catalyst At Large,  is credited with collaborating and gathering the information used in the analysis, this being her second year working in partnership with Veris Wealth Partners to create the public market scan. The study pulls together information from over 23 gender lens investment instruments produced by a wide range of financial companies including Barclay’s, Pax Ellevate, State Street Global Investors, ThirtyNorth Investments, Morgan Stanley, and others.

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Want to Invest with a Gender Lens? Put this Women-Owned Firm On Your Interview List

Investment experts like Suzanne Mestayer, Managing Principal at ThirtyNorth Investments, are leading the way for gender lens investing to become a larger part of the financial sector.

While estimates are frighteningly low for the percentage of financial assets under management by women and minorities, that number is destined to change. Leading the charge for this change as one of the few women-owned asset management companies is ThirtyNorth Investments, headed by Suzanne Mestayer, Managing Principal, and Blair duQuesnay, Principal and Chief Investment Officer.

How did Mestayer and duQuesnay become gender lens investors? They were basically convinced by the business case for more women in corporate leadership. “It was an interesting confluence of increasing our knowledge on the topic of women in governance, and learning about how few women are on corporate boards,” said Mestayer in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. “This coincided with our acknowledgement of our own experiences serving on boards, and seeing the benefits of having diversity on those boards.”

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We-Fi to the Rescue: Will Trump Lead the World With Empowering Women Entrepreneurs?

The World Bank, along with President Donald Trump, recently announced We-Fi, which will finance women entrepreneurs in developing nations.

In another unexpected “first” for our nation, Donald Trump decided to have his daughter, Ivanka sit in for him at the G20 leaders’ summit in Hamburg, Germany. But another, perhaps more important first also took place at this meeting: The World Bank Group announced the creation of an innovative new facility that plans to invest more than $1 billion to advance women’s entrepreneurship. This new facility will give women in developing countries a leg up when it comes to increasing their access to capital and markets that will help them start and grow businesses.

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Is It Possible? Accenture Commits to Full Gender Balance by 2025

Accenture, a professional services company, has announced a new goal to reach gender parity in its workforce by 2025.

Accenture, a professional services corporation which has studied and made public its own employee demographics, plans to reach 40% female employment by 2020. In addition, the corporation recently announced a new goal for total gender parity in its workforce by 2025.

But is it possible? Studies that peg the gender ratios for corporate boards predict the year that gender parity will be realized on corporate boards is 2055. Other studies suggest it will take another 40 years to close the gender pay gap in academia. But the company has a strong ethic of transparency that they believe helps them advance community objectives, and might possibly put them in a position to lead the charge on gender equity in business. “When you publish a goal, it holds you accountable to a higher level,” says Ellen Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture, in this article from Fortune.

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What’s up with this New Philanthropy Hub, and How Will It Involve Women’s Philanthropy?

Giving Compass aggregates philanthropy news and information by topics, including news and information about women’s philanthropy.

Recently, I got an email from Stephanie Gillis, Senior Advisor at the Raikes Foundation, wanting to “explore potential synergies” with the work we are doing at Philanthropy Women. Naturally, I was eager to do so, and soon learned about Givingcompass.org, a new team effort of several foundations and nonprofits, aimed at drawing on the chops of the tech sector in order to provide more resources for the philanthropy sector, particularly around how to assess the quality of philanthropy and get the most impact per philanthropy dollar.

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Business Worldwide Aligns with Global Goals, But Trump Rejects New Economy

Launched in January of 2016, The Business and Development Commission makes the  case for achieving a sustainable economy that will also address environmental issues. The Commission helps businesses align with the Global Goals, and track the economic gains of adhering to these goals.

Because of the importance of addressing climate change for women worldwide (as well as for all other manner of human and other species), it is important to take note of the economic activity that other countries are poised to engage in as a result of the Paris Accord. It’s also important to note how the U.S. will miss out on these economic opportunities because of our current poor (and non-representative) presidential leadership.

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Ellevate Holding Conference to Activate Gender Equality Movements

Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder, Ellevest

Since its launch in May of 2016, I have started following Ellevate Network on my Twitter feed, and I am always impressed by the quality of their material on both gender equality and gender lens investing. Now, the new startup that aims to capture the $11 trillion women’s investing market, is holding a conference in June to activate gender equality movements. Sallie Krawcheck, the architect and founder of Ellevest, came to my attention last spring when I was creating a list of 9 Gender Lens Investors to Know About.

Here is my capsule on Krawcheck from that article:

Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder, Ellevest

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Women Leading Change Event in Providence Features Jackie VanderBrug

Jackie VanderBrug will speak about gender lens investing in Rhode Island on June 7.

The world of gender lens investing has yet to be even marginally explored for all its potential, especially given that  only 1.1% of assets under management in the asset industry are controlled by women and minorities.

That’s why it’s exciting to learn that the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is hosting an event on June 7, 2017 featuring Jackie VanderBrug, gender lens investing expert. I featured Jackie VanderBrug in my list of 9 leaders to know in gender lens investing. Here is my capsule on her:

Jackie VanderBrug, Senior Vice President and Investment Strategist, US Trust

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