Gender equality

Norfund is committed to promoting gender equality, in our own organisation and in our portfolio companies. 

Norfund was one of the first development finance institutions (DFIs) to develop a Gender Strategy in 2016. In 2020, Norfund developed a new Gender Position based on the previous strategy and consultations with internal and external stakeholders. Norfund reports annually on the Gender Position and the related action plan to the Board of Directors and in the report on operations. 

Norfund’s position on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment has three objectives:

  1. To ensure equal opportunities and promote gender balance across all levels in Norfund
  2. To promote equal opportunities for men and women across all levels in investee companies and through access to finance
  3. To engage with relevant stakeholders to learn and where possible influence others to promote gender equality

Gender balance in Norfund

Norfund recognises the importance of starting with our own organisation. We track the gender balance in our own organisation annually.

Status 2021

Status 2020

Gender balance in Norfund’s portfolio companies

Each year, we collect gender disaggregated data from all investees. This enables us to carry out gender analyses at investee and portfolio level, and helps us to create awareness, both internally and externally. 

Note: The figures below are not directly comparable across years due to changes in Norfund’s portfolio. 

In 2021, the number of direct jobs held by females increased by 3 320 jobs, or 3 per cent, within the Norfund’s portfolio companies (with two consecutive years of reporting)*. This compares to a decrease of 1 700 jobs, or 2 per cent, in 2020.  

* Includes investees directly in Norfund portfolio as well as investees through platforms and funds 

Status 2021

Status 2020

Jobs indirectly supported through Norfund’s portfolio companies 

Literature suggests that direct employment is only a fraction of the indirect employment that is supported by an investment. Norfund applies the Joint Impact Model (JIM) to estimate such indirect employment impacts supported through our portfolio companies, also disaggregated by gender. 

The indirect employment impacts are divided in backward effects, from local purchases and spending of wages, and enabled effects, from power produced and loans provided by banks and other financial institutions. 

The model is applied on a subset of Norfund’s active portfolio by end of 2021, directly or through funds, for which sufficient data are available. 

Jobs indirectly supported


held by women supported in supply chains


held by women supported through spending of wages


finance-enabled jobs held by women through loans from banks and other financial institutions

The subset covers 56% of Norfund’s portfolio companies, direct and through funds, or 82% of committed capital by end of 2021. Norfund uses ex-post estimations and figures are reported without attribution. 

Collaboration and 2X Challenge  

Norfund continuously works to improve our approach to gender equality and works actively with external stakeholders to learn about and promote gender equality more widely.  

Norfund was a founding member of the Gender Finance Collaborative, the predecessor of the newly established 2X Collaborative where Norfund engages actively with peers to deliver tangible results with our partners on the ground. Norfund has decided to also become a member of the 2X Challenge from the beginning of 2022.  

Case: CASEIF IV – 2X Flagship Fund

Norfund is also exploring ways to better capture and promote other diversity, equity, and inclusion aspects in collaboration with peers through the 2X Collaborative and with other partners.  

Promoting gender equality in investment agreement

Greenlight Planet is a leading PAYG (“pay-as-you-go”) solar company that designs, produces, distributes, and in many cases, finances distributed off-grid solar powered energy solutions for off-grid and weak-grid households across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Norfund provided a first loan to the Greenlight Planet Group in 2018 together with the Dutch DFI (FMO) and British DFI (BII, formerly CDC group) and a local currency refinancing at the Kenyan level in 2021, this time joined by BII and the two commercial banks Citi and Stanbic.  

Greenlight Planet has conducted an internal gender balance assessment and identified areas to further support gender balance in its field sales teams to better match the Greenlight consumer base or its beneficiaries. Norfund, though our Business Support programme, and BII are supporting two specific activities to close this gap. The first is support to women Area Business Managers in sustaining their success and retention through professional and leadership training. The second is to increase the volume of high performing women sales agents that are ready to step into an Area Business Manager role.  

Additionally, and together with the co-lenders, three sustainability KPIs have been agreed with Greenlight Planet and linked to the margin of the provided loan, such that an achievement of the KPI will lead to a reduction in the margin and vice versa. One of the KPIs is gender related, namely the percentage of women in Greenlight Planet’s management.