One of the highlights of my Nexus experience was the plenary conversation which sought to discuss ‘what it looks like to invest in women in 2017 and beyond’. As a young woman, who has a keen interest in establishing a social enterprise and furthering my philanthropic endeavors in Jamaica, I was drawn to the speakers’ analyses of the current investment landscape and the changes which need to take place to improve on investments in women moving forward.
The speakers provided very meaningful insights about balancing social impact and competitive returns on investments. Furthermore, while acknowledging the chronic under investment in women and the often siloed approach to addressing this the speakers made several propositions about how to make more valuable and sustainable investments. My key take-aways from the discussion were:
- There is a need to understand and make use of technology as a means to move the needle on gender parity recognizing that many women do not possess the skills necessary to make use of online resources;
- We must address the global digital divide whereby women currently access the Internet significant less than men;
- There is a need to recognize and address the harassment of women online;
- Increase the investments must be made in women of color;
- More micro investments in women are required;
- Venture capital should not be view as the ultimate investment solution;
- There is a need for greater understanding of diversity and inclusion among women;
- Diversity also needs to be understood as an issue of governance;
- Sustainable investments must consider and even address existing social norms;
- User-centered designs/models are needed in order to support women in business;
- There is a need to provide diverse funding options and ensure that they are easily accessible to women;
- There is a need for greater connectivity/networking among women leaders and the creation of mentorship opportunities.
All in all, I believe the above mentioned points can form part of a guide to making significant investments in women across diverse sectors and regions globally.