International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

Press release: Launch of ‘Women’s SDG Bond’ gender equality finance initiative

Date: Thursday, February 6, 2020

On 6 February 2020, International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the Global Media Campaign Charity to End FGM (GMC) and global law firm White & Case LLP have come together to support the achievement of gender equality by using innovative financial tools.

Gender inequality, which continues to cost the world millions of lives and trillions of dollars in lost opportunities, can be ended with adequate resources and appropriate financing. Inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a finance initiative is being created to include innovative financing structures for sovereign bond issuances to finance the achievement of gender equality globally by 2030 with an initial focus on ending female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage in selected countries in Africa. The finance initiative is also exploring the creation of a global Women’s SDG Fund to invest in countries and companies that have entered into measurable gender equality commitments.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Director of UN Women, said: “Now is the time for big, bold investments in gender equality, so that progress for women and girls is accelerated. This requires new approaches for women to access money and for budgets to be prioritized. UN Women welcomes this partnership as part of its efforts to increase innovative financing for gender equality.”

The financing initiative is being led by White & Case with its knowledge and expertise with regards to similar innovative financial tools. White & Case partner Chris McGarry, who leads the Firm’s team on the initiative, said “Alongside climate change, inequality, in particular gender inequality, is the biggest issue facing us over the next decade and we are delighted to be working with UN Women and GMC to tackle gender inequality at the scale required.”

UN Women brings its expertise on how key investments in gender equality can have a long-term positive impact on the lives of women and girls and bring about economic growth that benefits the whole community. This aligns with UN Women’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda, in particular its commitment towards supporting the achievement of SDG 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Global Media Campaign’s partnership is also key, following its work across the African continent on FGM and Child Marriage since 2013. “In the same way that Green Bonds have now helped raise more than $1 trillion to tackle climate change, the Women’s Bonds initiative could accelerate the end of FGM and child marriage across Africa. The potential is mind-blowing, and if we can get it right it will be life-changing for millions of women,” said Maggie O’Kane, Executive Director of the Global Media Campaign to End FGM.

Media contact

Sharon Grobeisen
+1 (646) 781-4753
sharon.grobeisen@unwomen.org