Mainstreaming Gender Equality in Investment Promotion

Investment promotion agencies (IPAs) in developed and developing countries are increasingly integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment in their work, in line with national commitments.

This IPA Observer looks at the latest developments in this field, sharing global practices and providing initial guidelines on how agencies can address gender and women’s empowerment strategically.

It draws from an UNCTAD-led survey of 52 IPAs across all regions conducted between June and September of 2020. A total of 45% of agencies surveyed are promoting gender equality in at least one area of their work.

IPAs are working on two main fronts. First, agencies are facilitating greater impact of foreign companies’ operations on gender equality in the host country. Second, they are empowering women and promoting gender equality within the agency.

In addition, a growing number of multinational enterprises (MNEs) have defined and report on gender equality objectives in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This has generated both a demand and an opportunity for IPAs to support MNEs in this area by identifying opportunities where investment projects can have a positive impact on gender equality and facilitating women’s access to capacity-building and supplier development programmes.

As many IPAs reset their strategies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they can use this opportunity to mainstream gender equality across their activities.