Return on Equality: Investment Opportunities to Help Close the Global Gender Gap

Publication date: 
January, 2017
BNY Mellon Foundation, United Nations Foundation

There is significant opportunity for individual investors, asset managers and companies to move closer to achieving the goal of gender equality and make direct social, market and global economic impacts, according to a compelling report launched today by BNY Mellon and the UN Foundation.
The report, Return on Equality: Investment Opportunities to Help Close the Global Gender Gap, reveals new insights that underscore the urgency and opportunities for closing the global gender gap and proposes steps investors can take to advance progress towards the United Nations’ Sustianable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” 

“We not only have a moral imperative to bridge the global gender gap, but the potential market benefits and investment opportunities in doing so are pivotal,” according to Michael Cole-Fontayn, Executive Vice President, and Chairman of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

“Companies engaging in ‘gender-lens’ investing have typically supported women-led businesses and those promoting gender diversity. However, there is an increasing need to focus on the third (and less common) type of investing, in companies that advance gender equality through their products and services.”

Investors can now pursue these three gender-lens investment strategies through a variety of investment vehicles, including index funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs), venture capital and private equity opportunities, and innovative financing structures, such as private debt vehicles. However, investment vehicles related to products and services that advance gender equality are far and few in between.

The five sectors examined in this report that present investment opportunities in products and services and further the advancement of women have an estimated market impact nearing U.S. $300 billion alone in incremental annual opportunity globally by 2025. They include telecommunications, contraception, childcare, water and energy. 

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