Written by: Jyoti Chopra | Head of Global Citizenship and Sustainability, BNY Mellon
Last week at the World Economic Forum, BNY Mellon released a new study in partnership with the UN Foundation entitled ‘Return on Equality,’ on the global gender gap. While women and girls have made significant strides in the past decade when it comes to education, health, business and political leadership, gender equality has yet to be fully realized and attained in critical areas.
In September 2015, 193 United Nations Member States adopted sustainable development goals as a universal action plan to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. There has been great progress in recent years in meeting the fifth goal, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” and our research indicates that further efforts toward gender parity also present lucrative opportunities for investment and economic growth. For example, attaining parity across products and services in the water, contraception, telecommunications, energy, and child care sectors alone could unlock an estimated $300 billion in incremental annual spending by 2025.
Though women constitute half of the planet’s talent pool, they contribute only 37 percent of global GDP. While we certainly have a moral imperative to create more employment for women, we also have a profitable pool of global talent waiting to be tapped and vast economic opportunities to be unleashed. In addition, there is increasing demand from impact investors looking to move capital toward companies that advance their social ideals, opening the door for growth among businesses who consider outcomes for women in their product development, market segmentation and hiring.
Having spent many years early in my career with the United Nations and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), I’ve seen first-hand the immense value cross-sector collaboration and public-private partnerships have in truly accelerating gender equality. Opportunities to invest in the advancement of women across the globe are growing rapidly across the investment landscape, from venture capital firms dedicated to funding women-led companies, to bonds providing investors with access to debt in women-owned enterprises.
It is our vision across BNY Mellon to fuel progress and improve lives through investing. The inherent value in creating more opportunities for the advancement of women is clear, and exploring gender-driven investment approaches also has the potential to spark significant economic growth across the globe. BNY Mellon is proud to advocate for and advance gender-lens investing.