Investing in Women Initiative Design Document

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

While some progress has been made to close gender gaps in labour market outcomes, substantial challenges remain globally, and in South East Asia. Women are much less likely to work full-time than men and are less likely to progress their careers. They earn much less than men on average, even when individual characteristics are taken into account. They also bear the burden of much higher unpaid work. Women-owned businesses have the potential to be a significant source of job creation for women, but they face systemic barriers to their growth, including the issue that they are under-served or unserved by financial institutions. These gender gaps are a constraint to economic growth in the region.


The overall goal of Investing in Women is to contribute to women’s economic empowerment in South East Asia with the understanding that this will, in turn contribute to continued inclusive economic growth in the region. Investing in Women intends to do this by achieving the following four end of investment outcomes: (1) More businesses achieve gender equity in their workplaces, (2) Impact Investment in women SMEs has increased, (3) National policy makers and regulators remove barriers to women’s economic empowerment, (4) Public attitudes are more supportive of women’s economic empowerment.


In order to achieve these outcomes, this Investment Design Document brings together the four components of work: (1) Business Partnership, (2) Investing in Women in Business, (3) Government partnerships and (4) Advocacy platform to form the Investing in Women Program. This product includes the context, outcomes, tailored strategies, risks involved and risk mitigation strategies for the four components.