Bogolo Kenewendo: The G7 must place women at the heart of their agenda
Women are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19, but the G7 can play a vital role in making sure women have access to capital and labor markets, Amujae Leader and G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) Member Bogolo Kenewendo said, stressing the need for gender-focused investment in a recently published op-ed for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Ms. Kenewendo, who is also the former Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry in Botswana, noted that African women’s financial vulnerability has worsened during COVID-19 “because [women] tend to work and run businesses in the informal economy where there is no state-provided safety net of any sort.” This means that although women make up 40% of business owners in sub-Saharan Africa, only 20% have access to traditional institutional finance.
According to Ms. Kenewendo, the way to fix this imbalance is through gender lens investing, which focuses on deploying capital specifically with the goal of supporting women. This focused method of investing can help women access capital that is crucial to the survival of their businesses—and the benefits don’t end there.
“Gender lens investing,” wrote Ms. Kenewendo, “won’t only assist in reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] on gender equality, but [it] is also a catalyst for achieving all of the other SDGs.” Empowering women through financial independence will also facilitate women’s economic participation. If women’s economic participation rate was equal to the rate of men, it could add an additional USD $28 trillion to the global economy by 2025.
As a member of the GEAC, which was most recently convened under the UK’s 2021 G7 presidency, Ms. Kenewendo said the Council will be “pressing the G7 leaders to place women and gender equity at the heart of plans to build back better.”
It’s imperative that we act as quickly as possible, emphasized Ms. Kenewendo. “The stakes could not be higher, nor the opportunity greater.” Read the full article here.