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Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality

SEAF creates shared value for entrepreneurs, women, and investors by investing for women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. Where implemented, SEAF’s gender strategy is to invest in companies in certain domains where gender bias is particularly present, such that they present good opportunities to invest and benefit women.

$157.6 M invested

17 Countries

75 Investments

This gender lens investing strategy contributes to the following 7 UN Sustainable Development Goals, among others:

The Opportunity

Women are often undervalued in the marketplace and the workplace due to gender biases, leading to some businesses themselves being undervalued. Therefore, SEAF sees attractive investment areas in which to build significant shared value, including for women, with these being in firms that are:

  • Women-led, recognizing that female entrepreneurs are undervalued in general and therefore do not have equal access to capital.
  • In sectors where women are more prevalent (i.e. comprise a large portion of labor), given the opportunity to raise women’s value within such companies.
  • Providing products or services meeting the unmet needs and wants of women and girls. Companies that commit to maximizing women-powered expertise in designing, producing and delivering such products and services, creating value for female consumers and the firm.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to gender equality (pay equity, benefits, leadership, governance and business processes).

SEAF’s strategy is based on the firm conviction that companies with strong internal gender equality are superior business performers.

The SEAF Difference

SEAF is using its proprietary Gender Equality Scorecard© (see sample at right or link here) to assess and promote gender equality in investees.

The GES© is based on six gender vectors:

  • Pay equity
  • Workforce participation
  • Benefits & professional development
  • Leadership & governance
  • Workplace environment
  • Women-powered value chains

Case in Point – Phuong Chau Hospital

SEAF invested in the Phuong Chau Joint Stock Company (Vietnam’s Mekong Delta), the owner/operator of two multi-service hospitals, including its flagship hospital, Phuong Chau Hospital in Can Tho, and its first satellite facility in Sa Dec, the focus of SEAF’s investment.

Having begun in 2011 as an OB/GYN facility by a woman physician/entrepreneur, Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Ho, this investment is an excellent example of a women’s economic empowerment focused deal, given that it is:

  • Women-led and owned
  • Provides vital services of the highest quality to women in an area with high, unmet demand
  • Employs over 300 women health care practitioners who are continuously trained to increase their knowledge and skills

SEAF and Phuong Chau are now working together on a value creation plan, including using the GES© to improve its internal gender equality.

News, Thought Leadership and Insights

  • Inclusive and Sustainable Development through Gender Equality InitiativesLink
  • WEE and the SDGs Link
  • Gender Finance AdditionalityLink
  • Closing Gender Gaps Link
  • United Nations ESCAP and SEAF Partner To Unlock US$150 Million In Capital To Advance Women Entrepreneurship In Asia Link
  • SEAF Wins Responsible Investment Award at 19th Annual AVCJ Private Equity & Venture Capital Awards Link
  • The FT reports that Investment Vehicles Focused on Women are Growing Link
  • SEAF Invests in Leading Indonesian Artisan Bakery and Café Link
  • SEAF at the Annual AVPN Conference – Part 2: Identifying impact investment opportunities for investors in Asia Link
  • SEAF at the 2019 AVPN Conference – Part 1: Empowering Entrepreneurship to Advance the Lives of Women Link