WIN-WIN: Investing in women is smart economics
Imagine increasing the crop yields of your farm by as much as 30 percent, or increasing an entire nation’s GDP by 3 percent. By allowing women to have the same access to resources as men, or having 10 percent more girls in school, these results are possible. According to the Calvert Social Investment Foundation, women are the key to seeing positive change in the world, and the organization is working as a catalyst to make these statistics realities.
The Women INvesting in Women INitiative or WIN-WIN project is a brand new undertaking by the Calvert Foundation to encourage “women, and those who care about women, to invest in organizations and projects that create opportunities for women around the world.” The Initiative hopes to raise $20 million for these projects, 75 percent of which will go to projects in the United States and 25 percent will go to funding operations internationally.
As the World Bank says, “investing in women is ‘smart economics’, when women experience economic gain, so do their families and communities.” The loans have already assisted women in a variety of circumstances, from giving funds to a woman in California to expand her firm, to giving more efficient cooking stoves to women in Kenya. While the money was used for vastly different purposes, each loan allowed the women to become more productive and contribute better to their communities.
MicroPlace, an online resource created to provide an opportunity to invest projects that help the poor, powers the actual investments. Starting as low as $20, investors can choose a short-, mid-, or long-term loan, each earning the backer a financial return, just like any other investment opportunity. WIN-WIN evaluates the borrowers and manages the portfolio of all the loans. The programs they choose support women though childcare, education, health care, housing, leadership, microfinance and other means.
These loans, while small in denomination, are meant to create large changes in not only women’s lives, but also those of the communities in which they live and work. Lisa Hall, the president and CEO of the Calvert Foundation sums up the idea of WIN-WIN, saying, ““By bringing women into the economy in a powerful way that improves the financial stability not just for those women, but for their children, their families, and therefore for their communities and for the world, that’s my vision of what WIN-WIN accomplishes.”