Market Analysis

Sustainable Bonds: Bridging the Gap for Gender Equality

November 15, 2021

The sustainable finance market has grown significantly, and investor appetite is high for innovative financial instruments that address social issues. Social bonds, gender bonds, sustainability bonds, and sustainability-linked bonds can help direct capital to reduce the financial and economic inequalities between women and men. These bonds, for example, can provide capital to fund projects to create better social outcomes for target populations in areas such as education, healthcare, or financial inclusion. 

As part of efforts to bring greater clarity on what the bond market can do to advance gender equality, IFC, in partnership with UN Women and the International Capital Market Association, developed Bonds to Bridge the Gender Gap: A Practitioner’s Guide to Using Sustainable Debt for Gender Equality. The guide provides a framework to the market on how sustainable debt instruments can be used to advance gender equality in both the public and private sectors.

The guide, which was developed with financial support from the Government of Japan, provides illustrative examples of gender-related activities and targets that potential issuers can consider. The publication will especially be helpful for arrangers, borrowers, underwriters, external reviewers, as well as new and existing bond issuers to take steps to integrate gender equality objectives into sustainable debt products.

The guide is also a resource for investors seeking to understand and support projects and strategies that are designed to advance gender equality.

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