Gender equality

Gender discrimination persists in every country in the world, despite progress made in recent years. The private sector has an essential role to play in reducing these inequalities, both economically, by promoting business opportunities and female entrepreneurship, and socially, by investing in companies that improve access to essential goods and services for women and girls.

Proparco’s policy is in phase with France's feminist diplomatic strategy and the objectives of AFD Group in terms of gender, by making a reduction in inequalities – including gender inequalities – one of the three pillars of its Strategy 2023-2027. As a development finance institution (DFI), Proparco's mission is to help businesses identify and prevent gender inequalities, both in-house and in their dealings with customers.
Agricultrice Madagascar 2023

Promoting access to essential goods and services for women

Accès biens et services

Promoting access to essential goods and services for women

Guaranteeing access to essential goods and services for women and girls that impact their quality of life, security and well-being is one of the main levers for reducing gender inequalities. The role of a DFI like Proparco is to finance or invest in businesses offering products and services that either target or are designed for women

For example, as part of the funding arrangements for the Dakar BRT infrastructure – the first 100% electric bus network in sub-Saharan Africa – to which Proparco has contributed in the form of a loan, gender issues were mainstreamed into the project design to meet the specific needs of women. For example, improvements were made to make access to stations and surrounding areas more secure (pedestrian safety and flow management, accessibility, lighting, etc.), thus guaranteeing equal access to this service.  

Guaranteeing access to employment and fair working conditions

Emploi

Guaranteeing access to employment and fair working conditions

Professional integration and the economic empowerment of women is a major factor in reducing gender inequality. Proparco's objective is to boost female economic participation by investing in businesses that make it easier for them to enter the job market and progress within an organisation by helping business projects to get off the ground and then supporting them subsequently.

More specifically, Proparco has financed the Bangladeshi textile manufacturer Ananta Huaxiang: a project that supports quality jobs for women through deployment of the HERHealth programme. This initiative seeks to raise awareness among female workers/supervisors of the various health issues specifically concerning them (contraception, maternity, diet, disease prevention, healthy living, etc.). 

Report: With Proparco, gender equality is moving centre stage in the Bangladesh textile industry

Promoting access to capital and female entrepreneurship

Proparco Annapurna 2022

Promoting access to capital and female entrepreneurship

Because it enables women to participate in economic activity, entrepreneurship is an essential driver for empowerment and reducing gender inequalities. Proparco supports female enterprise development by granting dedicated lines of credit to financial institutions targeting businesses (VSEs and SMEs) that are either run or owned by women.

In particular, Proparco has granted the Indian microfinance institution (MFI) Annapurna a USD 15 million line of credit to partner the development of its loan portfolio dedicated to very poor women living in rural areas. With a footprint throughout the country, this MFI serves 2.3 million customers, 99% of whom are women.

Report: Annapurna Finance: microfinance helping to empower Indian women

31 projects
signed that qualifies for 2X Challenge in 2023
675 million
euros of financing signed that qualifies for 2X Challenge in 2023

Our approach

2X Challenge: supporting the socio-economic empowerment of women

In 2018, G7 Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), including Proparco, launched the 2X Challenge. It aims to get the private sector to contribute to the development of women as entrepreneurs, business leaders and employees, and ensure that they can have equitable access to goods and services.

The approach of financial backers is twofold: factoring in and dealing with the risks of maintaining or reinforcing gender inequalities in projects funded, and increasing the proportion of funding earmarked for female entrepreneurs, employees and investors. 

As a founding member of the initiative, Proparco aims to step up gender mainstreaming in its projects. The objective for 2023-2025 is to have €1.9 billion in financing qualified for the 2X Challenge. In 2023, 31 signed projects qualified for the 2X Challenge for a total amount of €675 million

 
.
The 2X Challenge criteria

The 2X Challenge eligibility criteria fall into five main categories:

  • Female entrepreneurship
  • Female leadership
  • Jobs for women
  • Supply of consumer goods and services for women
  • Gender portfolio of intermediated financing
 

 

A risk-based approach to preventing gender inequality

As a development finance institution, Proparco has developed a risk-based approach aimed at ensuring that businesses comply with international standards, especially in terms of gender. More specifically, it encourages them to factor commitments to gender equality into their internal policies. 

In 2023, Proparco developed an approach focused on preventing gender-based violence (GBV) which aims to improve standards and practices for assessing, preventing, monitoring, reporting and managing GBV risks in financing and investment projects. 

 

Providing technical assistance

Proparco is expanding its extra-financial offering and developing gender-based support to meet the needs of its clients – both businesses and financial institutions – depending on the different operational contexts. This support makes it possible to harness expertise on behalf of clients to provide them with solutions: reviews of internal practices, gender action plans or designing "product" offerings that promote financial inclusion or access to services for women. 

This gender-based technical support was deployed at Enda Tamweel, a Tunisian microfinance institution in which Proparco has a stake. In addition to financing, which has enabled 82,000 women to get a microfinance loan, Proparco has supported the development of internal processes to help emancipate women: by introducing a gender strategy, conducting studies on access to financial services for women, and providing financial education for women.

Interactive map
This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not engage the responsibility of the AFD Group
Launch search
See map of all projects

News & Events

India

Annapurna Finance: microfinance helping to empower Indian women

The Indian microfinance institution Annapurna Finance, specialising in social loans, has long been supported by Proparco. It serves a predominantly female population in rural areas where there is a low level of financial inclusion. In this report from the state of Odisha in north-east India, we meet up with some women beneficiaries.
The Indian microfinance institution Annapurna Finance, specialising in social loans, has long been supported by Proparco. It serves a predominantly female population in rural areas where there is a low level of financial inclusion.

Downloads

Revue

Private Sector and Development : Harnessing the private sector to reduce gender inequality

"There are many challenges to address and huge issues at stake. The private sector and international

...
Feb 2020
Institutional Documents

Impact Report 2022

Proparco is committed to building a better future by supporting private sector initiatives for a mor

...
May 2023
Institutionnal publications

Proparco's Strategy 2023-2027 - Narrative

In response to the numerous challenges currently confronting the planet – economic and geopolitica

...
Mar 2023
Institutionnal publications

Key points - Proparco sustainable development report 2021

This new edition of the KEY POINTS brochure presents the main expected impact results of a scope of

...
May 2022
Private Sector & Development

How does Proparco mobilise its funds to promote gender equality?

How does Proparco mobilise its funds to promote gender equality? Discover the criteria through which

...
Aug 2020
Private Sector & Development

Private Sector and Development : Harnessing the private sector to reduce gender inequality

"There are many challenges to address and huge issues at stake. The private sector and international

...
Feb 2020
Videos

Choose Africa. In RSA, Theresa Tlometsane, the journey of a female entrepreneur and taxi owner

This is the story of Theresa Tlometsane who is proud to present her entrepreneurial role as a female...
Jun 2021
Videos

How does Proparco mobilise its funds to promote gender equality?

How does Proparco mobilise its funds to promote gender equality? Discover the criteria through which

...
Aug 2020
Videos

Enda, a driver for the economic inclusion of Tunisian women

Enda has been the leading microfinance institution in Tunisia and the Arab world since 1995, by demo

...
Mar 2020
Videos

Presentation video - Private Sector and Developpement number 33 : Harnessing the private sector to reduce gender inequality

On the occasion of International Women's Day, the new issue of the magazine Private sector and Develo

...
Feb 2020
Voir toutes les ressources