Gender Responsive Investment Handbook

Addressing the Barriers to Financial Access for Women's Enterprise

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Women account for between 25-40 per cent of SMEs worldwide and their earning power is estimated to reach US$18 trillion by 2014 – more than double the estimated 2014 GDP of China and India combined. Yet there remain structural and cultural barriers to the effective delivery of financial services to women in the global marketplace, meaning that a high percentage is unbanked and receive a low proportion of credit. As women entrepreneurs grow in number, they need financial products and services beyond microfinance and gender responsive budget initiatives that will allow them to expand their businesses.

Gender Responsive Investment is a process of ensuring gender-equitable access to financial services and investment resources through rigorous assessment of the differing needs of women and men. It recognises that a more equitable allocation of resources will make a greater impact on sustainable economic development, with long-term benefits for the whole economy.

This Handbook supports policy-makers to identify the policies, laws and regulations that hinder women’s access to finance, and assists financial institutions to identify opportunities to deliver inclusive, well-designed products and services for women.



State of the Business Environment

Against the backdrop of what is considered to be the worst financial crisis since the depression of the 1930s there could not be a more apt moment for policy-makers in the Commonwealth to implement measures that support GRI. This chapter examines the role governments play in facilitating GRI as well as the key areas policy-makers might consider focusing on in order to fully maximise the potential of women. It reviews factors within the enabling environment that affect women’s ability to access the financial services that are critical to enterprise development and the stimulation of economic growth.


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