Advancing gender equality is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through market acceleration, Convergence is committed to provide support to practitioners designing bankable investment structures for building the market, and ultimately catalyzing additional investment to meet SDG 5–Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Earlier in May, Convergence expanded the focus areas of the Indo-Pacific Design Funding Window, sponsored by the Australian Government, to include gender equality, in addition to resilient and sustainable infrastructure, to accelerate the number of blended transactions in the Indo-Pacific region that aim to make a significant contribution to gender equality outcomes for women and girls.
Based on Convergence data, 24% of blended finance deals align with SDG 5, and 42% of these deals have integrated a comprehensive gender-lens methodology, with a focus on empowering women. The majority (58%) of gender related deals focus partially on gender, with the goal of tracking and monitoring the number of women reached (e.g., by collecting gender-disaggregated metrics). So, we know a minority of gender related deals have a comprehensive gender focus, whereas a majority have adopted some aspect of a gender lens in their methodology.
When zooming in on the Indo-Pacific region, we see a steady flow of gender related transactions in recent years, following an uptick in 2013. Based on Convergence’s Historical Deals Database, most of the gender related transactions have focused on microfinance, energy and infrastructure, with Cambodia, Philippines and Indonesia being the most frequently targeted countries. The public sector has emerged as a key financier of blended finance transactions in this region, by participating in more than half of the transactions. A sizeable proportion of these investors are multilateral development banks and development finance institutions. At Convergence, we see an opportunity to drive additional private sector investment in this space.
Specific to the Indo-Pacific Design Funding Window, Convergence seeks proposals focused on gender equality that are either directly benefiting women and/or provide improved access to, and control over, resources and capital for women and girls. Intended outcomes can be qualitative or quantitative in nature, so long as they are explicitly stated and supported in reason and strategic planning.
If you consider applying to this Design Funding Window, consider the following questions to help determine the robustness of your proposal:
- How are potential risks and opportunities related to gender assessed?
- How will a gender analysis be conducted? What factors will be considered in the gender analysis?
- How will a gender action plan be formulated and implemented?
- What tools or metrics would be used/developed to assess gender outcomes?
- What are the internal implications of applying a gender lens?
Across all applications, Convergence assesses how gender is considered in the design of the financing structure, the implementation plan, and the monitoring and evaluation. Convergence incorporates a gender lens across the evaluation and selection processes and runs through several considerations when determining the strength of a design funding application.
As an example, the first grant award under the Indo-Pacific Window was for the design of the Local Utility Project Aggregator by Allotrope Partners, an international clean energy advisory firm specializing in emerging markets and technologies, that committed to leverage its relationships with investors, developers and public officials, to engage with a range of local stakeholders, and conduct a social gender analysis to ensure effective and equitable implementation, throughout the design process of its clean energy vehicle.
We also have a list of available resources to support you as you think about applying a gender lens to a blended finance vehicle. You can find more information about our eligibility criteria, evaluation criteria and application process for the Indo-Pacific Design Funding Window here.
The next application deadline is August 18, 2021. If you have questions about whether your financing structure has a sufficient focus on gender equality, fill in this questionnaire and reach out to [email protected]
This blog post, contributed by Adhiti Gupta and Adi Vashist is part of a new series that will look at gender in the blended finance market, including key opportunities and challenges for achieving, measuring, and bolstering gender equality in blended finance transactions.