Maternity provisions, domestic burden-sharing, STEM education
When tackling SDG 5, this report recommends that wealthy individuals focus particularly on three key areas which have almost universal relevance for women’s professional and personal lives: improving maternity provisions, relieving the burden of unpaid domestic work, and increasing participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Women globally still spend an average of 4.5 hours a day on unpaid care work versus 2.2 hours for men, while STEM qualifications, which are associated with higher-paying employment, are received by 30% of male graduates versus 16% of female peers.
All five main aspects of gender-lens wealth - policy, business, investing, giving, and education - can play a role in these three core areas. Private individuals can conduct policy and education campaigns on provisions for maternity leave, affordable childcare, and female STEM studies, as well as provide philanthropic subsidies. They can also try to ensure their own organizations or businesses meet acceptable standards in these areas.
With respect to their investments, individuals can tilt their listed equity portfolios towards companies which have a greater proportion of senior female managers. A greater proportion of female executives and directors has generally been found to correlate with higher returns. While women in leadership may not necessarily be the direct cause of outperformance, gender balance may be a reliable proxy indicator for better-performing companies.
Within the field of impact investing, which aims to generate an additive measurable social impact as well as a compelling return, opportunities in affordable childcare and STEM education exist, although they will probably be insufficient to warrant a broad range of successful dedicated funds. In many cases, investors, primarily ultra high net worth individuals with the ability to do their own solo or club deals, will likely have to pursue such avenues independently.
Policy and education (i.e. awareness) campaigns and associated donations are essential to increasing the number of women in leadership roles. Women's participation in politics and decision making is still low in most countries around the world. According to the UN Women report 2015, women are usually excluded from high rank positions in the government. Globally, the share of women among government ministers is close to 18% and they are usually assigned to social issues. The implementation of quotas in countries like Germany has helped to improve women's political empowerment but the participation remains low at levels close to 30%.
In the private sector, individuals can promote female leadership through mentoring and by increasing the number of female leaders in their own businesses and organizations.
Leadership inequality is not only reflected in the political arena but also on a more day-to-day economic level. In many countries, women still face discrimination when trying to access financial services and ownership rights. On the policy and education/awareness sides, promoting legal aid, in particular in low income countries, with respect to land rights and social protection benefits will help to reduce the disparities.
On the giving, business, and investing sides, subsidizing or offering loans and financial services promotes economic independence and empowerment. The Grameen Bank in Bangladesh offers long-term loans to buy housing and land if these are registered in women's names, providing security and ownership inside the household. However, on the investing side these are typically direct, case-by-case opportunities that are unlikely to form a sufficiently reliable stream for a broad range of successful dedicated funds or similar instruments.