Innovative finance is emerging as a powerful tool for harnessing private sector capital to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment but remains limited in its scale to date due to challenges inherent in innovation. Philanthropic actors can help overcome these barriers and play a catalytic role in enabling innovative finance to reach its true potential in creating gendered impact. Using three case studies of innovative financial mechanisms that are applying a gender lens across Asia, Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) illustrates how innovative finance can create gendered impact and how philanthropic actors can use their resources to support the development of such funding mechanisms.
The recent McKinsey & Company report ‘Impact Investing Finds its Place in India’ is an interesting read with some valid insights on impact investing in India. However, having been in the impact investing space in India for more than a decade, I have witnessed the pendulum of impact investing swinging away from India towards other high-potential countries of South and South East Asia and believe it is time to zoom into the new frontier markets which have proven strong economic growth with high impact potential.
Despite traction in gendered approaches to investment, women still represent an underutilized force for sustainable development and remain underserved in terms of access to capital, market linkages, and resources needed to improve their economic position. Closing the gender gap is not only a social imperative but also a key ingredient in fueling economic growth.