IFC and Gender
AT A GLANCE
Expanding opportunities for women is smart for economies—countries that do not fully capitalize
on one-half of their human capital run the risk of undermining their competitive potential.
Recognizing the important contribution women’s entrepreneurship makes to economic growth, IFC is
committed to creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs to realize their economic potential,
as a part of its mission to foster sustainable private sector growth in developing countries.
IFC’s experience shows that banking on women entrepreneurs is profitable as women entrepreneurs
have excellent repayment rates, are good savers, and contribute positively to their community’s well-
IFC’s Gender Program was established in 2004 to mainstream gender issues into IFC’s work,
while leveraging the untapped potential of women as well as men in emerging markets. IFC provides
financial products and Advisory Services to:
o Increase access to financial services for women entrepreneurs
o Reduce gender-based barriers in the business environment and investment climate
o Improve the sustainability of IFC investment projects
ACCESS TO FINANCE
IFC has expanded access to credit for women-owned small and medium enterprises by
collaborating with financial institutions to enhance the delivery of financial services and business
support to women entrepreneurs.
IFC has directly contributed over $50 million through commercial institutions for loans and
Advisory Services to women entrepreneurs.
Through women-targeted interventions, 1,300 loans were disbursed to women entrepreneurs and 1,900
women entrepreneurs were trained.
The program is also planning to bring a gender perspective to other IFC access-to-finance products,
such as leasing and credit bureaus.
To support legal, regulatory, and policy reforms that foster women’s entrepreneurship, IFC’s Gender
Program finalized a practitioners’ guide—Gender Dimensions of Investment Climate Reform: A Guide
for Policy Makers and Practitioners—following an extensive review process that included the donor
community. The guide highlights the economic rationale for gender inclusion in legal and economic
policies and provides step-by-step guidance on integrating gender issues into the investment
climate reform agenda including:
o Business start up and operation
o Business taxation
o Trade logistics
o Special economic zones
o Alternative dispute resolution
o Investment policy and promotion
o Secured lending
o Public-private dialogue
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IFC’s Gender Program introduced specific gender reform indicators to the monitoring and evaluation
framework of its investment-climate business line, signaling the importance of removing gender-
specific barriers in the investment climate to further promote women’s participation in the private
IFC also supports the inclusion of gender issues in the private sector policies of governments in Africa,
the Middle East, and the Pacific region. Specific countries include Ghana, Kenya, Papua New
Guinea, Rwanda, Samoa, Solomon Islands Tonga, Tanzania, Timor Leste Tunisia, Uganda, and
IFC and the Global Reporting Initiative have partnered to develop a resource document, titled
Embedding Gender in Sustainability Reporting, that will be launched in the Fall of 2009. The document
brings a gender perspective not just to governance and workplace issues that are typically associated
with sustainability reports, but also to issues in the supply chain, the local community, consumers, and
investors. The resource guide will inform organizations’ sustainability reports and a number of new
gender indicators will be considered in the next version of the GRI’s Core Reporting Framework.
Updated August 2009
Media contact: Katia Theriault, E-mail: email@example.com, Phone: (202) 458-9704, Cell: (202) 203-8223
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