“UNCDF is proud to lead the Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition under the Generation Equality campaign led by UN Women. The ability of women and girls to earn and control money is fundamental to the achievement of human rights and economic justice for women. UNCDF will work with our partners in this campaign to support investments in women’s economic empowerment to increase the number of women and girls earning and controlling money by at least 25% in 10 countries.”
Judith Karl, Executive Secretary, UN Capital Development Fund.
UNCDF Will Co-Lead the Coalition, along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, OECD, and Governments of Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Spain and Sweden and civil society organizations.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the UN organization that makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries, has been chosen as global leader of the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Women’s Economic Justice and Rights. The vision of the Generation Equality Action Coalitions is to deliver concrete and transformative change for women and girls around the world; leveraging the efforts of six Action Coalitions focusing on different themes including Economic Justice and Rights. Building upon existing experiences, the Action Coalitions aim to accelerate progress for women and girls by addressing critical constraints. Concrete actions over the period of five years will be collectively led by public, private, and civil society leaders to drive systemic change to reduce gender inequality.
Women and girls today face difficult challenges in almost every country in the world. Women earn less money than men. Globally, the gender pay gap is estimated at about 20 per cent. Specifically in poorer regions around the world, women, including smallholder farmers and informal workers, are at a higher risk of economic exclusion with structural barriers in accessing economic resources. Women control less money than men (even when they earn). According to the report “Women and Money,” co-published by IDEO.org and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “Money is the domain of men. Society does not view it as her role to earn money or her right to make financial decisions.” This is the reality on the ground for most women in the countries UNCDF works in. Lack of appropriate skills often pushes many women to opt for economic opportunities in sectors that often pay poorly with no job security and social protection. Similarly, women owned SMEs have often limited capacity and expertise to scale up business and to gain better access to markets, inputs and machinery. Lastly, the digital and energy divide remains a gendered one. Most of the 3.9 billion people who are offline and without energy access are in rural areas, are poorer and less educated, and tend to be women and girls.
Beyond finance, women and girls face a wide array of constraints and obstacles that impede their economic rights, ranging from lack of ownership of land and other productive assets, to lack of technical knowledge, the absence of infrastructure and related services that would strengthen their economic opportunities, increase their security and lessen the burden of unpaid work they face. Investment decisions on socio-economic infrastructure and on the provision of essential services are often gender blind and fail to address the specific constraints faced by women and girls. They also face a wide range of discriminatory laws and social norms that affect their agency and limit their opportunities to lead productive and fulfilling lives. As co-lead of the Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition, UNCDF together with Coalition members and other partners will contribute to reducing economic inequality between men and women by harnessing its experience in promoting equitable economic development through “last mile” financing .
UNCDF will ensure that this work is rooted in strengthened local systems, capacities, policies and institutions addressing persistent systemic gender inequalities. Innovative and integrated strategies for women’s economic justice and rights will be deployed, including through blended financing instruments and new types of public and private investments together with Coalition members. It will also leverage its expertise on building inclusive digital economies to ensure that women and girls can achieve greater access and control of money and services; and on local development finance to support socio-economic investments by the public and private sector that directly promote women’s economic empowerment.
“UNCDF is proud to lead the Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition under the Generation Equality campaign led by UN Women," said UNCDF Executive Secretary Judith Karl. "The ability of women and girls to earn and control money is fundamental to the achievement of human rights and economic justice for women. UNCDF will work with our partners in this campaign to support investments in women’s economic empowerment to increase the number of women and girls earning and controlling money by at least 25% in 10 countries.”
The ambitious targets of the SDGs related to women’s economic empowerment and the commitments of the Beijing Platform for Action will only be achieved through renewed commitment, new partnerships among public and private entities at local, national and global level and matched with adequate financing. The Global Action Coalition provides the opportunity, the vision and practical solutions to realize these ambitious commitments. UNCDF is proud to lead this critical agenda together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, OECD, Care International, International Trade Union Confederation, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET), Huairou Commission, Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
UNCDF’s financing models work through three channels: (1) inclusive digital economies, which connects individuals, households, and small businesses with financial eco-systems that catalyze participation in the local economy, and provide tools to climb out of poverty and manage financial lives; (2) local development finance, which capacitates localities through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance to drive local economic expansion and sustainable development; and (3) investment finance, which provides catalytic financial structuring, de-risking, and capital deployment to drive SDG impact and domestic resource mobilization.
By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals—SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a broad diversity of SDGs. Visit us at www.uncdf.org, follow @UNCDF and subscribe for updates at bit.ly/2wwDiqs