Pacific women face obstacles in the investment climate preventing them from growing their businesses. This includes a prevailing culture of informality amongst female entrepreneurs, unequal access to property, credit and justice, women’s lack of experience, and comfort with formal business processes such as business and license registration. While these obstacles impact men, they have a disproportionately greater impact on women.
Coffey’s Pacific Readiness for Investment in Social Enterprise (Pacific RISE) program a pilot initiative of the Australian Government to pioneer and facilitate a social impact investment market in the Pacific. Wherever possible, Pacific RISE promotes greater investment in social enterprises that deliver opportunities for women’s economic empowerment.
To do this, Pacific RISE has partnered with the Criterion Institute global leaders in gender lens investing to design an approach to create better investments in the Pacific and improve outcomes for women. Gender lens investing refers to the process of analysing and assessing how financial investments benefit women.
“Pacific RISE has a unique opportunity to play a role in supporting women’s economic development. Pacific RISE is partnering with the Criterion Institute to integrate a gender lens over the activities to create better investments in the Pacific.” – Amanda Jupp, Pacific RISE Facility Manager.
Gender lens investing is not driven by women’s movement, it’s actually being driven by investors. Many global banks and investment houses have already figured out that they need to work better to build relationships with women wealth holders and have put in place specific gender lens investing policies and products targeting women.
Globally, women make 80 per cent of all buying decisions around the world. For example in the US, women by themselves are, the largest national economy on earth. Larger than the entire Japanese economy. Women control 51.3 per cent of the private wealth in the United States and this is increasing. It is estimated that two-thirds of private wealth equating to $22 trillion in the U.S. will be in the hands of women by 2025.
“So we define gender lens investing as incorporating a gender analysis into a financial analysis, to get to better decisions. Now, what’s great about that, is that definition, really resonates in the finance sector, you know, if you’re talking to a fund advisor, or an investor, and you say, look, we can make your decisions smarter, if you understand gender.” – Joy Anderson, founder of Criterion Institute and gender lens investing.
To find out more about Pacific RISE and gender lens investing visit their website: http://www.pacificrise.org/
The Fiji Community Development Program (FCDP)
Over the past year the Pacific Islands of Fiji have been severely affected by natural disasters. In the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston in February 2016, rural and urban communities have faced additional hardships with severe flooding, loss of housing, crops and livelihoods.
Adding to the complexity and chaos in the post disaster environment is a range of additional challenges that are faced women and children, people living with disability and other vulnerable groups. These issues include food security, access to services, risk of gender based violence, health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH), and poverty.
The Fiji Community Development Program (FCDP) managed by Coffey, provides grant funding and capacity building to poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged communities across Fiji. FCDP provides a focus in advancing gender equality, disability inclusion, child protection, and environmental protection.
FCDP’s twin track approach in addressing GEDSI includes implementing targeted gender equality, disability and social inclusion activities (e.g. grant funding, capacity building) as well as mainstreaming GEDSI into all program components (e.g. proposal, appraisal and report templates).
Amongst its many achievements FCDP provide Civil Society Organisation grant funds, which build capacity for organisations to provide sexual and reproductive health services, and sexual abuse responder skills training.
“FCDP’s support has made a significant difference for the safety, well-being and economic empowerment of women in rural, vulnerable, underserved communities.” – Glenn Davies, Gender Advisor, Ministry of Women Children and Poverty Alleviation, Department of Women.
To find out more about FCDP go to http://www.coffey.com/en/our-projects/fiji-community-development-program/.