What does every country around the world have in common? Inequality for women and girls.
We have made progress in closing the gender inequality gap, but we still have a ways to go. In 1994, then World Bank chief economist Larry Summers wrote, “investment in girls’ education may well be the highest return investment available in the developing world.” Almost twenty-five years later, the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap Report highlighted that “the progress toward parity continues to be very slow” and “the population-weighted average overall gap is virtually unchanged from last year.”
Women’s empowerment and economic growth are highly correlated. According to USAID, a country’s GDP can be expected to increase an average of 3% for every 10% more girls who go to school. Furthermore, these gains are not limited by geography or development—the U.S. can add up to $4.3 trillion in annual GDP in 2025 by closing the gender gap, per the McKinsey Global Institute.
In order to achieve gender equality, and support continued global development, we need to properly invest in organizations that address women’s and girls’ issues. According to the Women & Girls Index released by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute last month, nonprofit organizations dedicated to women and girls account for only 3.3% of all nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and received only 1.6% of all charitable donations made in 2016.
Investing in women and girls can yield higher social and financial returns. Nonprofits with a women-and-girls-focused mission “achieve powerful results, driving significant progress for women and girls while operating with lower levels of philanthropic support and fewer staff resources than many other charities,” according to Andrea Pactor, interim director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.
Overall, all these statements and statistics underscore the depth and breadth of the global gender inequality issue.
The Etergino Group’s mission is to connect wealth with purpose. We work with individuals and organizations to build investment portfolios with the aim of achieving maximum risk-adjusted returns while also choosing investments that are aligned with our clients’ specific values.
Our commitment to our team’s mission extends far beyond the office. Ann Marie is passionate about promoting financial literacy and she volunteers her time and talents to worthy causes supporting the needs of women and children. She serves on the boards of Women for Women International, a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides economic and social support to women survivors of war, as well as Collegiate Directions, a non-profit that helps low-income, first-generation students from the Washington area to apply, attend, and succeed in college.
Ann Marie has witnessed the impact of investing in women. During a Women for Women training program in Rwanda, Ann Marie saw first-hand how providing women with job skills, tools and resources not only allows them to support their families financially, but also boosts their confidence and dignity. Ann Marie was especially moved by Anika, a recent program graduate who had learned how to grow and sell pineapple locally, all so Anika could earn the income needed to send her son to school. The investment in Anika empowered her to support her family and her community.
We believe that stronger women leads to stronger returns, which results in stronger communities.
There are many ways to invest in women. Giving your time or making a donation to a charitable organization focused on women’s and girls’ issues is one option. Another is to consider allocating your portfolio with a focus on socially responsible investments — connecting positive returns with positive change.
Simple changes to how you invest may lead to a positive impact on not only your financial wellbeing, but also the causes important to you. Please contact us today to learn more or set up a free consultation.