Archived Webinar

Gender-Smart Investing - Private Sector Approaches to Advance Gender Equality

Over the last decade, investors across asset classes have increasingly adopted strategies to intentionally, and measurably, use their capital to reduce “gender gaps”—the inequalities that persist between women and men. Gender-smart investing has emerged as a growing asset class with a compelling business case. Billions of dollars are held in assets under management, in both private and public capital markets, and the opportunities to mobilize capital and invest to close gender gaps are promising and growing.

This event will highlight key trends in the field of gender-smart investing, such as the amount of capital deployed across sectors and regions, and areas of focus for investors. Speakers will share approaches undertaken across the World Bank Group to channel more investment capital towards efforts that remove barriers to women’s ownership of and control of assets, such as housing and financial services.

The event is part of the World Bank Group’s yearlong Gender Equality and Development +10: Accelerate Equality initiative, which explores the important progress made and lessons learned over the last 10 years in promoting girl’s & women’s empowerment, women’s leadership, drive for a transformative change toward gender equality, shifting power relations between women and men, and engaging women as agents of change for green, resilient and inclusive development (and for social cohesion, peace & stability in FCV settings). It will also take stock of remaining challenges, while strengthening partnerships with a diverse group of stakeholders in the quest to #AccelerateEquality.

Time: Thursday, March 3, 8:00 – 9:00 am EST

About the Presenters

Opening remarks - Merli Margaret Baroudi, Director, Economics and Sustainability, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)

Merli Margaret Baroudi is a Director of Economics and Sustainability at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group. Ms. Baroudi joined MIGA in November 2016 and is responsible for MIGA’s economics, country risk management, evaluations and environment and social development functions.

Prior to joining MIGA, Ms. Baroudi worked at the World Bank from 2003 as Director and Chief Credit Officer. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Ms. Baroudi worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit of the Economist Group and JP Morgan Chase& Co.

Ms. Baroudi holds an MA in Development Economics and International Trade from Columbia University and an MA in Area Studies in the Middle East, with concentration in Economics.

Panel - Jessica Espinoza, CEO, 2xCollaborative (moderator)

Jessica Espinoza is CEO of the 2X Collaborative, a global industry for gender lens investing convening the entire spectrum of capital providers. She is also Chair of the 2X Challenge that has raised more than US$ 11 billion of gender lens investments since its launch at the G7 Summit in 2018. Jessica has a track record in originating, structuring and executing debt, mezzanine and equity deals in emerging and frontier markets with a strong focus on inclusive innovation. The latest innovation she is spearheading with 2X colleagues is 2X Ignite, a bold facility to unlock capital for gender-smart business at scale by backing female-led fund managers.  

Jessica serves on the Board of Directors of AlphaMundi Foundation and of the Mexican financial institution Mega, and previously served on the Advisory Board of several private equity funds. As a mentor for Endeavor, she supports high impact companies as they scale up. Jessica is the Founder of XOCO, an inclusive edtech venture and a fellow at Columbia eLab. Jessica was selected for the Leaders Europe 2022 program of the Obama Foundation and awarded the Digital Female Leadership Award of Global Digital Women 2019. 

Prior to her current role, Jessica was Vice President for Private Equity & Venture Capital Investments at DEG/KfW. She was also a Member of the Management Board at ProCredit Bank Nicaragua responsible for the Business Clients Division and managed the Africa Regional Office of MicroFinance Transparency.  

Jessica holds a double degree in International Business Management from ESB Business School and Dublin City University. She is a PhD candidate at University of Siegen, researching the transformative potential of gender lens investing under the supervision of Prof. Friederike Dr. Welter.

Suzanne Biegel, Co-founder, GenderSmart

Suzanne is founder of Catalyst at Large and co-founder of GenderSmart. She is a globally recognized expert on gender-smart investing. Her work has influenced hundreds of funds and institutional investors, and billions of dollars of capital to move with a gender lens. Her work spans research, field building and consulting on gender-smart investing.  She is the co-author of Project Sage, the global market scan of PE, VC, and private debt vehicles with a gender lens. She sits on a number of advisory boards including the Equality Fund, Boardroom Africa, SheEO, Women in Social Finance UK, and others. She is an adviser for the 2X Collaborative.  

GenderSmart and its broader platform brings together the most committed investors and investment influencers, globally, to unlock gender-smart capital at scale. Several of its key initiatives are about the intersection of climate and gender finance, about the intersection of gender and racial equity investing (JEDI), and of the care economy.

She is a frequent speaker, moderator, and writer on the topic of gender-smart investing. Suzanne is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business. She and her team are based in the UK. 

Chris Millward, Sector Manager, MIGA- Finance and Capital Markets

Christopher Millward, a UK national, is Sector Manager for Finance and Capital Markets at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group. As Sector Manager, Millward is responsible for developing MIGA’s business that covers financial institutions, credit enhancement guarantees on loans to state-owned banks and capital markets products. 

Millward joined MIGA in 2004 as an Investment Officer, and since then he has worked in MIGA’s infrastructure team and most recently as Regional Head for Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, responsible for developing business from and into those regions. Prior to joining MIGA, Millward worked as an investment banker at Credit Suisse in London.  

Millward holds a master’s degree from St. Andrews University and an MBA from Georgetown University. 

Kathleen Mignano, Operations Officer, IFC – Gender and Economic Inclusion Group

Kathy Mignano is an Operations Officer in IFC’s Gender and Economic Inclusion Group. She focuses on reducing poverty through inclusive private sector business models. She leads the development of inclusive strategies and impact frameworks and supports clients pursuing base of the pyramid markets. She also actively supports inclusive and sustainable finance—authoring the Bonds to Bridge the Gender Gap guide, contributing to the Social Bond Principles working group, and working on IFC’s Social Bond Program. Prior to joining IFC in 2013, Kathy worked with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on its partnerships with the private sector and with the Urban Institute on topics including anti-corruption and economic development. She holds an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and BA in Business Administration from Furman University. 

Stephanie Vak-Stephens, Investment Officer, IFC – Disruptive Technology and Funds

Stephanie is a global investment professional with 12+ years of experience across both developed and emerging markets. Currently at the IFC/World Bank Group, she is a private equity fund investor and leads efforts in gender-lens investments, advisory and research initiatives across private equity and venture capital.  

Her previous roles at IFC have included investing in financial institutions through the Banking on Women (BOW) program-where she facilitated financing to women-led businesses through collaborative efforts with Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women and the Women Entrepreneur Finance Initiative (We-Fi).  

Prior to IFC, Stephanie held multiple roles across business strategy, investment origination and portfolio management with Standard Chartered Bank in Ghana & the UAE and with the Royal Bank of Scotland in the U.K.  

She has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, an MSc. Finance from the University of Strathclyde and a BSc. Business Administration from the University of Ghana.

Closing remarks - Rebecca Miano (TBC),Managing Director & CEO of Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen), member of WBG Advisory Council on Gender and Development

Mrs. Miano has had a 30-year multi-faceted career in the energy sector and is a recognized continental business leader focused on running KenGen as a sustainable entity. She is an energy expert specializing in renewal energy, structuring international and regional multi-million business deals, international regulatory framework in sustainability development and climate change, policy development, corporate governance and business law. She founded the noble Pink Energy forum to address female and gender parity issues within KenGen which has advanced to a sectoral platform to enjoin the other state agencies within the Ministry of Energy. Mrs. Miano is focused on growing KenGen’s footprint in geothermal development across the African continent and she has successfully implemented several large geothermal projects in the continent. 

In November 2019, she was appointed to the Board of Global Compact Network, Kenya and she was named among the Top 100 Women CEOs in Africa by Reset Global People in partnership with Pulse and Avance Media. Mrs. Miano joined the World Bank Group’s Advisory Council on Gender and Development in July 2020. Mrs. Miano was named as one of the top 25 movers and shakers in Africa in 2021 by the African Energy Chamber. In 2010, she won the Company Secretary of the Year award in the Champions of Governance Awards series. The same year, she was awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya (OGW) and in 2019, the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) in recognition of her outstanding service to the nation.  Mrs. Miano holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree, a Diploma in Law and Post-graduate studies in Comparative Law. In 2010, she completed the Advanced Management Program from Strathmore University. She is a registered Certified Public Secretary of Kenya and is a Member of the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (ICPSK) and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK). 

Target Audience

The event is open to all. Attendees will be drawn from the private sector including corporates, financial institutions and investors, academia and researchers, multilaterals, governments, NGOs, civil society, and employees from across the MIGA, IFC, and the World Bank.

Questions Submitted


- Jul 20, 2022
great discussion


- Jun 9, 2022


- Apr 10, 2022
Very good


- Mar 24, 2022


- Mar 8, 2022

Mohammad Nadir

- Mar 6, 2022

jose luis

- Mar 6, 2022
muy bueno
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