In 2018, one BBC team set out to investigate the lives of women who died in a gender-related killing on a given day – October 1st.

Listening to local radio stations in Nairobi, scouring Scandinavian newspapers, watching nightly news in Miami – everywhere around the word, they looked for reports of gender-related killings.

They found that global media only reported 47 killings worldwide. The United Nations actually estimates that the real figure is 137 women.1 There is a big difference between knowing the statistics about injustice and actually talking about them.

Well, we're ready and eager to talk. And act.

Collectively we still have a lot to do to achieve gender equality by 2030, No. 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nations. In this article, we highlight four examples in which, together with clients, we contribute to a more equal world.

#1: Fighting for gender equality by investing

Gender equality causes only received 2.6% of all donations between 2000 and 2013. What if developing new types of financial solutions could raise that figure?

In early 2018, UBS teamed up with Equileap to develop the UBS Global Gender Equality Index.

The 100 companies that constitute the index are chosen for their strong track record in gender diversity and sustainability. Companies are selected based on 19 diversity criteria, including equal compensation, work-life balance, gender balance and sustainability policies.

The hope is that such indices help investors select and invest in companies that align with their values. In turn, this should encourage companies review and reflect on their diversity policies.

Does gender diversity affect company profitability?

The answer may surprise you. Explore more.

#2: Promoting gender equality with innovative philanthropy

Individuals and organizations are eager to support and drive programs to improve education. Yet lack of transparency is a major obstacle for philanthropic funding.

As part of our service to clients, we use our experience and networks to find new ways of implementing more efficient and sustainable philanthropy.

One way to do that is by pioneering social finance. In 2015, the UBS Optimus Foundation launched the world's first development impact bond (DIB) in education.

The DIB provided operational and financial flexibility for Educate Girls, an Indian NGO.

After three years, 92% of all out-of-school girls identified in the program were enrolled in school. That's 768 girls. The difference in learning gains between Educate Girls students and others quadrupled compared to year one.4

Partnering for good

In 2017 the UBS Optimus Foundation reached 2.1 million children. Fully financed by UBS, the foundation distributed the entirety of the money raised to programs supporting children – among which, girl protection projects are key.

#3: Supporting female entrepreneurship in our communities

Women are starting more businesses than ever before. Yet only two percent of the USD 130 billion dollars in venture capital funding went to female founders in 2018.5

Project Entrepreneur is a UBS US-based program that helps innovative female entrepreneurs build and scale, high-growth companies.

More than 400 of our employees have engaged in the program, from application review to facilitating workshops to volunteering at events.

In just three years, the program has provided training to more than 1,650 female founders. Alumnae of the program have gone on to raise nearly USD 45 million in seed and pre-seed funding.

Promoting education and entrepreneurship

UBS Community Affairs supports local communities both financially and by encouraging our employees to put their expertise to work. We focus on developing education and entrepreneurship.

#4: Empowering the women closest to us

We recognize that we can all do a lot for gender equality merely by casting a critical eye on our own business. The financial services industry specifically must improve in terms of gender equality.

At UBS, we aim to increase the proportion of management roles held by women to one third. To do this, we deploy projects to make sure we hire more, lose fewer and promote more women.

In 2016, we launched our Career Comeback program to help both men and women return to the corporate world after a career break. The program addresses typical barriers women face when trying to return to the workforce.

Career Comeback involves a two-week intensive training program followed by year-long mentoring and coaching. It's one of the only permanent-hire comeback programs in the industry today.

Why we get involved

Contrary to popular belief, financial institutions have a big part to play in addressing social and environmental issues.

Our clients increasingly ask to create positive impact for society. We can deploy large-scale projects and financing. The combination means we're optimally positioned to drive change that matters.

As the world's largest wealth manager,7 we're uniquely placed to mobilize the private capital needed to achieve the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals and develop radical new approaches to philanthropy and sustainable investing.

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