UN Women and Blackrock will work together to promote the growth of gender lens investing (GLI).

UN Women, is the UN body focussed on gender equality and women’s empowerment, signed an MOU with global fund manager Blackrock as part of the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Annual Meeting in Davos.

The collaboration is still in its early days, but the core synergies will see UN Women’s data and research capabilities, coming together with Blackrock’s global reach to mobilise capital. 

The mission is to shift capital into companies that help address women’s needs in education, financial services, childcare, healthcare, and other sectors.

Blackrock is the world’s largest fund manager, it’s a pragmatic investment firm, and they recognise that engaging more women in business and education, and in boosting their quality of life, will drive broader economic growth. 

It’s not yet clear whether Blackrock will launch dedicated GLI funds, or the frameworks for assessment that would be used, but the growing awareness of the issues, and the benefits of boosting women’s economic engagement is a promising step. 

Earlier this year Capital Human and Impact Investing Australia released a first-of-its-kind report identifying the benefits of applying a gender lens to investment decision-making, as well as the ‘3i Framework’ for practical direction on how to embed GLI. 

“UN Women’s mission is to achieve a world in which all women and girls can exercise their basic human rights and can unlock their full economic and social potential. Achieving gender equality is at the heart of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and requires strong public-private partnerships that will direct greater flows of financing towards gender equality objectives. We are pleased to partner with BlackRock, a leading global asset manager, to make a real impact and to catalyze global markets to bring gender lens investing to the fore.” says Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women.

Gender lens investing is defined by UN Women as the intentional allocation of capital and alignment of investment strategies, processes and products, to achieve positive and tangible contributions against women’s empowerment objectives and that has the potential to generate a financial return.

“We are excited to partner with UN Women, a global champion for women’s empowerment, to help scale the nascent field of gender-lens investing. We believe this partnership will help meet the growing appetite of asset owners around the world to focus more on the “S” pillar of ESG and their growing interest in investing for positive real-world outcomes alongside competitive financial returns.” saysIsabelle Mateos y Lago, Global Head of the Official Institutions Group at BlackRock.

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