At CCM, we categorize our investments using seventeen impact themes, one of which is gender lens. We define this theme as follows: benefiting women and girls, primarily those that are low- and moderate-income, such as women-owned businesses, educational programs, health-related services, and affordable homeownership. We support these initiatives promoting gender equality, especially in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, because of their roles in helping young girls and women advance their skills and job opportunities.
Investors are increasingly interested in seeing examples of the types of bonds that incorporate gender lens. We have included two below.
Barrier Free Living Residences: Bronx, New York
Barrier Free Living (BFL) Residences is the largest provider in the nation of Domestic Violence Intervention Services for Victims with Disabilities providing housing for disabled, survivors of domestic abuse, and the homeless. This list includes apartments for severely disabled women who are in a nursing home diversion program and women who are disabled veterans. These new buildings will replace an abandoned incomplete construction site which has been an eyesore to the community for many years. Social services onsite assist residents with Social Security entitlements, navigating Medicare and Medicaid, and food stamps. Supportive staff connect residents to vocational training and jobs and help residents cope with the trauma that accompanies domestic violence and disabilities. Nearly ten childcare workers are available for parents so that they can make use of the provided services such as parenting or domestic violence groups, or one-on-one meetings with social workers and occupational therapists. BFL is located in a low-income census tract where 99% of the population residing in this census tract are minority households and 41% live below the poverty line.
Single Family Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities
Another example of a bond with a focus on gender lens is CCM’s recent addition of targeting single family agency mortgage-backed securities specifically to women homeowners. We announced this in a recent press release which you can find here. As pioneers and innovators in fixed income impact investments, we continuously look at new ways for our clients’ investments to have a meaningful impact and are thrilled to add providing capital to women for affordable homeownership to our gender lens theme.
Gender lens as an impact theme is often associated with emerging markets. While many nations of the developing world lag in women’s rights, and consequentially, gender equality, advanced countries such as the U.S. are also far from perfect. Many impact investment advisors such as CCM aim to shed a light on the prevalence of gender inequality and how clients can invest in projects that empower women and reduce economic disparities attributed to gender. In the examples above, women are supported by services both psychological and financial that will positively impact their well-being.