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Annual Report

Annual Report > 2013 Online Report  > Stories of Impact 

Boosting Development Through Equality

India's Rural Women

We help strengthen women's roles as entrepreneurs, employees, consumers, and leaders.

Women’s participation in the workforce has grown over the past decades. Yet women remain significantly underrepresented. 

This inequality is not only unfair. It’s also bad economics. Failing to tap the economic potential of women puts a brake on poverty reduction and limits growth and opportunity. Expanding women’s participation can raise productivity and improve a variety of development outcomes. 

IFC works to strengthen women’s roles as leaders, entrepreneurs, employees, consumers, and stakeholders. We provide a combination of investment and advice to help our clients expand access to finance for women, deliver business-skills training for women entrepreneurs, and recognize the business case for creating opportunities for women. We also work with our clients to improve working conditions and to dismantle barriers to women’s participation in business. 

This year, we teamed up with The Coca-Cola Company in a $100 million, three-year project to provide access to finance for thousands of women entrepreneurs in Africa and other emerging markets. IFC will work through its network of local and regional banking institutions to provide financing and business-skills training to small and medium enterprises that are owned or operated by women across the Coca-Cola value chain. The first step was a $50 million IFC investment in Access Bank Nigeria to help it increase lending to women entrepreneurs. 

We also arranged and syndicated a $130 million financing package to support the expansion of Peru’s Belcorp, a door-to-door sales cosmetics company that employs close to 9,000 people—74 percent of them women. The investment will also help the building of a new plant in Mexico and the firm’s expansion to new markets in Latin America. 

In China, we stepped up our financing to support the growth of Chindex, a leading private healthcare network that has been instrumental in raising the quality of local health services. Founded by two women, the company is dedicated to empowering its female staff through leadership and training initiatives. Women make up 75 percent of Chindex’s workforce. 

Since 2010, our Banking on Women program has invested more than $600 million in support of women-owned small enterprises in developing countries. That included a $470 million investment in Brazil’s Banco Itau—the program’s largest investment, and its first in Latin America. We provided $100 million from our own account and mobilized $370 million through loan syndications. 

IFC also is a lead sponsor of the Global Banking Alliance for Women, an initiative that brings together about 30 financial institutions committed to leveraging the women’s market around the world.

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