UNIDO ITPO Tokyo held the webinar “Raising Awareness on Gender Lens Investing” on March 1, 2023. This was the fourth event in a series bringing together speakers working on gender equality in Africa and Asia to discuss Gender Lens Investing (GLI), which aims to bring positive impact on gender equality through investment.
In her presentation, Ms. Jessica Neumann, ITPO Expert at UNIDO Headquarters, gave examples of the reasons why gender gaps persist across the world, such as biased views that men are more persuasive than women, existence of unclear investment criteria for women entrepreneurs, and lack of confidence among women. She further stressed that GLI would lead women to have better leadership, better access to capital, and to encourage more entrepreneurs, all of which would lead to solutions of social issues, business opportunities, and greater employee satisfaction.
A panel discussion followed featuring Ms. Adenike Adeyemi, Executive Director of the FATE Foundation, which supports entrepreneurs in Nigeria; Ms. Mari Kogiso, Co-CEO of SDGs Impact Japan, which invests in sustainable businesses in Japan and around the world; and Mr. Tadesse Dadi Segni, UNIDO ITPO Tokyo’s Africa Advisor for Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. Mr. Hideki Murakami, Deputy Head of UNIDO ITPO Tokyo, moderated the panel discussion in which the three panelists exchanged opinions and knowledge on the following questions.
・What actions should companies take to address gender equality?
・How can we effectively support women-led businesses?
・What are the challenges in promoting GLI?
・What is the current situation of GLI and gender equality in the business scene in Africa and other countries?
Ms. Adeyemi suggested, “Try to evaluate all your company’s activities with a gender lens. By doing so, you will be able to see what is attracting women or deterring women from your company” as an advice for companies to take gender equality into consideration. In supporting women-led businesses in Africa, she added, “because of the diversity of countries, cultures, ethnicities, and businesses, you need to be honest and inclusive in knowing where to find relevant information that you can access and understanding them.”
Ms. Kogiso introduced her company’s commitment to the NextGen ESG Japan Fund, an investment fund that focuses on social impact on gender equality, environment, and governance, and reported that it had achieved positive performance. On the other hand, she pointed out that the concept that “difference between women’s and men’s perspectives is a source of profit” was not widespread and therefore stated that it is important to have more financial products focusing on gender.
Mr. Tadesse reported on the current situation in Ethiopia, saying, “perspectives with consideration for gender have been introduced in Ethiopian financial institutions, and women are actively promoted, especially in the fiber and fashion fields.” As an example of his support over the years, he introduced the efforts of a Japanese female entrepreneur running a leather manufacturing and sales company in Ethiopia.
UNIDO offers free online training (English only) on Gender Lens Investing. If you are interested in this topic, please find the following link: https://learning.unido.org/login/index.php.
You can view the event recording below.
Date/Time: 17:00 – 18:30, March 1st, 2023(JST)
Language: English/Japanese (Simultaneous interpretation)
Mr. Ryota Nishiyama, Media Advisor, UNIDO ITPO Tokyo
17:05 – 17:25 Introduction of Gender Lens Investing
Ms. Jessica Neumann, ITPO Expert, NIDO HQ
17:25 – 18:25 Panel discussion “How GLI can benefit and impact gender inclusive business and development”
Moderator: Mr. Hideki Murakami, Deputy Head, UNIDO ITPO Tokyo
Ms. Adenike Adeyemi, Executive Director, FATE Foundation, Nigeria
Ms. Mari Kogiso, Co-CEO, SDGs Impact Japan
Mr. Tadesse Dadi Segni, Africa Advisor, UNIDO ITPO Tokyo