IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. It fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC's new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
IFC's Gender Program: Creating Opportunities for Women
Launched in December 2004, IFC’s Women in Business Program (WIN)(formerly known as Gender Entrepreneurship Markets, GEM), works to mainstream gender issues throughout IFC’s operations, while at the same time helping to better leverage the untapped potential of women in emerging markets. GEM’s activities promote the participation of women in the private sector around three main areas:
- Enhancing women’s access to finance by assisting commercial banks in serving the women’s market
- Addressing gender-based barriers in the business environment by helping governments understand the gender dimensions of business reform and growth
- Adding value to IFC investments projects by helping companies strengthen stakeholder relations, corporate social responsibility, and overall performance by ensuring that local women benefit from IFC’s investment projects.
Ready for Growth: Solutions to Increase Access to Finance for Women-Owned Business in the Middle East and North Africa
Produced by Vital Voices Global Partnership in cooperation with IFC and the MENA Businesswomen’s Network, this report surveyed 431 women business owners across 8 economies in the Middle East and North Africa to understand their needs, the critical obstacles they face in accessing finance, and identify real solutions to increase the economic contributions of women-owned SMEs.
Financial Products and Advisory ServicesIFC provides financial products and advisory services to increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs, reduce gender-based barriers in the business environment, and improve the sustainability of IFC investment products. Access to global expertise, research, and best practices means that IFC can take a broad approach to creating value for private sector clients and shareholder governments.
Access to Finance
IFC helps banks profitably serve the women's market. It provides financing for on-lending to female entrepreneurs, and uses best practices from the Global Banking Alliance for Women to analyze the local women's market, advises on appropriate financial products and collateral options, and trains its clients' employees and female borrowers. IFC has served as the Alliance's secretariat since 2005. For more information, click here.
Business Enabling Environment
IFC helps governments understand the gender dimensions of business reform and growth. Work includes assessments on barriers that women face in doing business, surveys, and capacity building for women's groups to advocate for change.
In addition to a number of country reports analyzing the gender dimension of the business environment, IFC also publishes a "Voices of Women Entrepreneurs" series, the most recent report being 'Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Rwanda". For more information, click here.
IFC helps companies strengthen stakeholder relations, corporate responsibility records and overall performance by ensuring that local women can benefit from IFC's investment projects. It provides gender-focused assessment tools to highlight potential risks and benefits to women, plus advises on how to mitigate risk and create new opportunities for women. For more information, click here.
In partnership with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), IFC is implementing a project on Gender and Sustainability Reporting. The aim of this research and consultation project is to help private enterprises worldwide create new opportunities for women, adopt best practices in sustainability reporting, and improve their bottom lines.
The output of this project will be a Gender Sustainability Reporting Resource Document, which will complement the GRI’s innovative Sustainability Reporting Framework. The new guide is intended for companies that want to establish themselves as leaders in managing gender issues. It will demonstrate the value of creating business opportunities for women, provide guidance on improving gender management through sustainability reporting, and help improve the quality and scope of gender reporting by including new categories such as “women as consumers,” “women as entrepreneurs in the supply chain,” and “women as part of the community.” The Gender Sustainability Reporting Resource Document will be published at the end of July 2009. The governments of Iceland, Germany (BMZ and GTZ) and Switzerland are sponsors of this project.
Women's Entrepreneurship in Conflict-Affected Societies
IFC promotes women in business also in conflict-affected societies, recognizing that women's entrepreneurship is often crucial for the effective reconstruction and sustainable development of fragile economies. For more information, click here.
IFC Women in Business Quaterly Newsletter
IFC's Women in Business quarterly newsletter is designed to keep businesswomen in touch with key events, relevant research and, most importantly, each other! The newsletter provides brief descriptions of news, events, and online resources that are aimed to inspire and inform businesswomen. To subscribe to the Women in Business Newsletter, please send an email to email@example.com.