Gender equality is key for sustainable growth

“Let’s make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives. And let’s support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone.” – UN Secretary General, António Guterres.

Today we celebrate progress towards a world where women have equal rights and opportunities in all spheres of life. In Finland it can be easy to take for granted the prominent role that women play in business and society. According to the World Economic Forum, Finland and other Nordic countries make up four of the top five countries worldwide in terms of gender equality. Gender equality clearly contributes positively to the national and global economy, but progress is still slow and uneven in many sectors and countries.

The UN theme for International Women’s Day this year is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”. This theme applies directly to the work KPMG Finland is doing as service provider for EEP Africa, a multi-donor trust fund providing early stage financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across Southern and East Africa. According to EEP Africa’s in-depth study on gender, balanced gender representation at all levels of an organisation leads to better performance, and gender equality is considered as an indication of a company’s future growth.

Women in rural and urban areas of Africa are often the main beneficiaries of sustainable energy access. However, they are underrepresented in the professional side of the sector. Many companies have a narrow focus on offering women clean cooking solutions, rather than promoting them as leaders and innovators. This restricts women’s economic and job opportunities, and also limits the company’s own growth potential.

To help address this issue, EEP Africa currently has a gender-themed call for proposals open for start-ups and other innovative companies working in Africa. Through this call, the fund aims to promote gender inclusion and create economic and leadership opportunities for women, while also supporting the core business objectives of clean energy developers.

Through EEP Africa and other projects, KPMG Finland is proud to contribute to the global Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality (SDG 5). Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is a goal we support across our entire portfolio of work.

Happy International Women’s Day!