Invest in Women
Monday, November 21, 2011
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (MarketWatch) – In the developing world, women have a critical stake in survival. And it turns out that investing in women is a good bet for a number of reasons.
“We know that women are critical to economic growth and community stability,” the organization Business for Social Responsibility says in a report, Investing in Women’s Economic Empowerment. “Research has also shown that women earning an income are more likely than men to invest in the education, nutrition, and health of their children. Women are also more likely to save and contribute to broader livelihood improvement in their communities. These contributions are especially relevant in developing countries where women represent an increasing force behind social and economic development.”
Women in these countries are in dire need of access to capital, business training, access to markets, and access to technology and infrastructure.
Take a look at Myanmar’s new capital, Naypyitaw. The city used to be largely off limits to Western visitors, but it’s opening up as Myanmar’s leaders look for more acceptance from the outside world. WSJ’s Patrick Barta reports.
Considering that 70% of the world’s hungry are women and that two-thirds of the 750 million illiterate adults are women, investing in women can create a major social impact. Besides, the ensuing financial benefits are robust.
Many impact investment funds single out women-themed investments. And certainly there are plenty of women-owned enterprises listed on investment platforms such as Kiva.org and Microplace.com.
Take this example from Kiva: Thirty-year-old Norovsuren lives with her daughter and disabled brother in Uvurhangai Province, Mongolia. Having started her garment retailing by selling socks in the streets in 1999, she now owns two counters in the province’s biggest market. Well-known and well-experienced, Norovsuren is a sharp and hardworking woman who says, “I started my business from scratch. I worked hard to go this far.” Now that winter is approaching, she needs warmer clothes to sell and is requesting $1,950 to buy more garments.
It’s obvious the individual effect an investment can have, but with women at the helm it seems the social impact is even greater.