2X gender equality challenge adopted by European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has endorsed the 2X Challenge, aimed at shoring up gender equality in financial institutions.

The 2X Challenge commits the G7’s development finance institutions (DFIs) to unlock a collective total of $3bn (€2.69bn) in investment in projects supporting the economic empowerment of women in developing countries by 2020. DFIs are encouraged to utilise their own funds, as well as mobilising private capital investment, to support gender equality in development finance through offering leadership opportunities for women, improving women’s quality of life and access to employment; and providing financial and enterprise support.

Signing the official 2X Challenge pledge, EIB Vice President Andrew McDowell said: “To accelerate development and reduce poverty we must tackle the obstacles that limit women’s potential. Gender equality is a core European value and central to the European Union’s external policies. As the bank of the European Union, we are honoured to be the first multilateral development bank to endorse the 2X Challenge criteria. By joining forces with 13 development finance institutions we are committing to a common effort to advance women’s economic empowerment and gender equality through our investments. The 2X Challenge is a fantastic initiative supporting the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and we strongly encourage others to join it.”

The EIB is the first Multilateral Development Bank to support the 2X gender equality challenge initiative. Four non-G7 DFIs adopted the challenge criteria in May this year: IFU in Denmark; FinnFund in Finland; FMO in the Netherlands; and Swedfund in Sweden.

Anne-Marie Lévesque, Chair of the 2X Challenge Working Group and Gender Lead at FinDev Canada, said: “To have a Multilateral Development Bank endorsing the 2X criteria and applying it to its portfolio is a major step for the 2X Challenge. We look forward to working with EIB to accelerate capital flows towards gender lens investing worldwide.”

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