Globally, fewer women than men participate in the formal economy, women earn less than men, are not represented in leader positions to the same extent as men and have fewer assets and economic opportunities
Norfund is committed to supporting the economic empowerment of women, and we follow Norway’s foreign and development policies and guidelines on women’s rights and gender equality. Norfund’s strategy for gender equality and women’s economic participation has three objectives:
- Promote equal opportunities for men and women;
- Encourage female participation in management and on corporate boards; and
- Support women’s enterprises and self-employment.
Norfund is committed to addressing gender equality in our own organisation, in our investments, and through our grant interventions and external communications.
Taking stock and raising awareness
Each year, we collect data on the gender balance of our portfolio companies. Gender equality varies in different business areas, and data shows that financial institutions and funds typically have a better gender balance than the energy and agribusiness sectors.
In 2018, Norfund benchmarked data from our investee companies in energy, financial institutions and funds and compared these to global data from these sectors. The benchmarking exercise showed that the gender balance in our investee companies is either the same as the average level in these sectors, or better.
Leadership and boardroom competence
Norfund has noted that women are underrepresented at the management level in our investee companies and on corporate boards. We are supporting female talents in our portfolio companies in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana to participate in the Female Future program – a leadership and boardroom competence development programme created by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO). The programme was established in Norway in 2003 and has since been rolled out to other countries in cooperation with national employers’ organisations.
Supporting women’s entrepreneurship is another priority area for Norfund. We have provided funding from our Business Support Program to support Equity Bank’s Entrepreneurship program for a second year. The training program facilitates the growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises. Norfund requires at least 50 percent of participants to be women or women-owned enterprises.