The Gender Investment Gap

A time to act - Season Two Episode 08

Audio file
Published on July 14, 2021

To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, Henriette Kolb, Manager of Gender and Economic Inclusion Group, International Finance Corporation discusses the Gender Investment Gap. Understanding how resources from both public and private sector could leverage multiple SDGs to achieve the 2030 agenda and close gaps between women and men.

Gender equality is not only a social and moral imperative, but also an economic necessity. Across the world, countries are losing $172 trillion in wealth because of differences in lifetime earnings between women and men, according to a recent World Bank Group study.

Companies, however, are increasingly realizing that they can gain greater competitive advantage and improve profits by targeting women as employees, entrepreneurs, consumers, and business leaders. Closing gaps between women’s and men’s economic participation drives the growth of businesses and economies and improves the lives of families and communities.

This conversation will foster a unique opportunity to showcase the action that is being done by the UN, Governments and private sector, to speak about how important these partnerships are in these urgent times for the lives of the most vulnerable and for the planet. At the same time, it would provide insight on the work plan of IFC in Gender and how it impacts the achieving of other SDGs.

Read the Blog to learn more!


Henriette Kolb, Manager of Gender and Economic Inclusion Group, International Finance Corporation

Moderated by Lisa Kurbiel, Head of Secretariat, United Nations Joint SDG Fund



Henriette Kolb

Henriette Kolb

Head of Gender and Economic Inclusion Group, International Finance Corporation

Henriette leads the Gender and Economic Inclusion Group at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. She serves as an advocate for gender equality issues in the private sector and works with IFC’s clients to include both women and men as entrepreneurs, employees, consumers, community stakeholders and leaders. She leads a global team that is engaged in co-creating gender-smart private sector solutions through research, investments, advice and peer learning platforms.

Before joining IFC in September 2013, Henriette was the CEO of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, where she remains involved as a senior advisor. Earlier in her career, Henriette was the UN representative in the Middle East Quartet team advising Tony Blair in Jerusalem. She also worked for the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO). She has held positions as governance advisor with the European Commission Delegation to Tanzania, the German Technical Cooperation Agency in Germany, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Tanzania, where she worked on conflict reduction, civic education, and socioeconomic issues in East Africa.

Henriette graduated with an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and received her MA from Freiburg University, Germany. She is also a Harvard Kennedy School Women in Public Policy Program fellow (2018).  Henriette is a Bucerius and Hertie summer school alumna and a frequent contributor to blogs hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, Huffington Post, and Business Fights Poverty.