#InvestDifferently – The Women Effect – Gender lens investing

LMDF proudly presented ‘The Women Effect’ on May 9th, 2016 at the EIB. This session was the first in a series of Invest Differently events – a look at how investments can be used to promote change and development, and drive non-financial returns.

The dramatic ripple effects of investing in women and girls connects developing countries and developed alike.

"For me it was an eye-opener, gender lens should be applied in asset allocation when diversifying risk. "

− Elisabet Laquintana

"A timely and insightful conference reminding us of the many challenges women still face in general and the work that still urgently needs to be done to embrace the ‘gender lens’ fully into all aspects of business and investment."

− Nima Ahmadzadeh

"The “Invest differently” conference helped to shed light on the situation of women throughout the world, and that at the end of the day, women face the similar challenges. In Europe, women face the challenge of discrimination in the work place, while in Africa and the countries in which LMDF invest, the aim is to open up access to financial services to help them to manage their micro-businesses. In these countries, only 50% of women have a bank account. The challenge is huge. And LMDF’s priority is to help MFIs that grant 70% of their loans to women."

− Viviane Clauss

"Congratulations on running an excellent event- good to hear such thought-provoking discussion on a really important subject."

− Kenneth Hay

"Mentorship is something that is very important. There are a lot of young women that want to start a business or want to go into the active world and they need support. They need guidance. They need a mentor…It is important, from my perspective at least, that women entrepreneurs are not just mentored by women, but also by men."

− Vincent Hieff

Highlights:

Introduction to Invest Differently and the importance of gender-lens investing from microfinance to Luxembourg board rooms: Kaspar Wansleben of LMDF and Hedda Pahlson-Moller of OMSINT/TIIME

Keynote: Suzanne Biegel, founder of Catalyst at Large, introducing ’The Women Effect’ and exploring the direct and ripple effects of investing in women along with the beneficial impacts of leveraging diversity. As women disproportionately struggle to obtain funding and are poorly represented in management positions, the Women Effect introduces strategies to tackle these issues.

Panel discussion on ‘investing in women in Luxembourg’: Sarah Khabirpour, Head of the Department of Strategy, Regulatory Affairs and MarCom at BIL, Claudine Lorang, extended Board Member of the Fondation FUSE and Aude Lemogne, an entrepreneur and founder of LINK Management.

ClosingHedda Pahlson-Moller (TIIME) and Vincent Hieff from the Ministry of the Economy wrapped up the event with some highlights from the discussion and reflecting on women entrepreneurship in Luxembourg as well as ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘gender blindness’, concluding that we should all continue this journey into awareness and positive action investing in the Women Effect.

We are very grateful to the Ministry of the Economy and the EIB Institute for the generous support and contribution to this thought-provoking event.

You couldn’t attend the event? Watch it on our Facebook page by clicking here

© Raoul Somers / EIB Institute

"Gender matters. That’s something that I recognise. I have moved from being gender blind to being gender positive or am in that process. Having an open dialogue with ourselves and with each other about where we are on this journey is important."

− Hedda Pahlson-Moller

"Just having a woman on the board or just having a woman in management actually does not mean that there is a shift…You really have to look at policy, practices, culture. What are you doing intentionally to create an enabling environment to tackle these barriers? "

− Suzanne Biegel

"When I look at the boards I am sitting in, I have to say that women ask different questions…Sometimes they are much more spontaneous, sometimes they are much more direct and I think that the fact is that if you add women to boards in Luxembourg, you add this spontaneity to the board…It’s like flipping the coin all of a sudden. You bring in a different dimension. That’s why I can only encourage boards to add women to the decision making process. "

− Claudine Lorang

"So the question really is how do we manage to move from a numerical approach, an approach of mere presence, to much more of a qualitative approach, where you have women actually being part of the decision process all the way up?"

− Sarah Khabirpour

"Women have another way to approach, and to analyse and to manage risk than men and I think financial institutions are starting to understand that."

− Aude Lemogne

"Mentorship is something that is very important. There are a lot of young women that want to start a business or want to go into the active world and they need support. They need guidance. They need a mentor…It is important, from my perspective at least, that women entrepreneurs are not just mentored by women, but also by men."

− Vincent Hieff