March 9

Women and Sustainable Finance: Fuel for the Engine of COVID Recovery

By Professor Durreen ShahnazMarius DøckerKatharine Tapley

There is broad consensus on the need to intervene as a matter of urgency, in order to provide relief for women and underserved communities. However, governments and businesses have the opportunity to go one step beyond, and build the kind of resilience that will outlast any pandemic.

Across the Global South, COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on women-focused small and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs). The unprecedented social and economic changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have put an increased burden on women.

Many face disproportionate responsibilities at home, are experiencing increased unemployment rates and are struggling to maintain their businesses. To add insult to injury, they are being overlooked by COVID-response policies that may even exacerbate home-based violence.

The Asia-Pacific region alone has over 50 million WSMEs, mostly in the micro, small and medium range that provide employment to over 100 million people. They form the backbone of the economy’s success. Women can power the engine for recovery if we step up. Enter sustainable finance.

Photo courtesy of UN Women/Ryan Brown

Source: World Economic Forum (link opens in a new window)

Coronavirus, Finance
ESG, financial inclusion, global development, SDGs