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Value for Women

Newsletter February 2020: Value for Women News

Newsletter February 2020: Value for Women News

At the close of last year, our team at Value for Women reflected on the important achievements we have both witnessed and driven in 2019, and reaffirmed our goal to address urgent global social and economic issues with a gender lens. For our team, 2020 is a year for designing new ideas and innovations that contribute to thriving and sustainable economies worldwide.

Our expanding reach and partnerships enable our vision of bringing women to the forefront of business practices, contributing to healthier and more just societies, and to a more sustainable planet at large.

Our team is poised and focused on devising business and investment practices in climate, finance and agriculture that creatively weave in responsible and sustainable practices. This year will see more public-facing articles, research, and case studies toward building a greater body of knowledge to further move the needle on gender in business and investment. We will offer more tools to support action and measurement, and you will see our team at global and regional events throughout the year presenting these.

This bulletin is a way for us to share our efforts with our partners and friends. In this issue, you will see whats new, read our recent blog posts, hear about our new partnerships and meet some of our team members. It is a glimpse of what is keeping our team busy- and we welcome your feedback, questions or the exploration of new partnerships!

A message from Rebecca Fries, Managing Director and Co-founder of Value for Women

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Team Spotlight

Our team is what makes Value for Women a very special and diverse organization. Learn more about what inspires and drives us. Future issues will shine a spotlight on more of our amazing teammates! Meet Cecilia Coddi, Luis Marquez, Norman Sarria and, our newest member of the team, Laura Allan.

Cecilia Coddi, Head of Finance
United Kingdom

I have recently joined VFW as Head of Finance and I'm glad to be working for an organisation who's main aim is the promotion of gender equality and the creation of opportunities for women across the globe. I have always thought that having more women in positions of leadership would lead to a better world. Having lived and worked in many developing countries, I also think that women's social and economic empowerment is not only critical for the development of a nation, but also one of the most powerful tools to help women break free from exploitation and abusive relationships. My work at VFW allows me to use my international experience in audit and finance to help the organization achieve its aims more effectively.I am a mother of 2 children, and recently moved back to Surrey, UK, after 7 years in Africa. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, practicing yoga regularly and I also love drawing, cooking and running in the Surrey countryside. I find it very relaxing.
Luis MarquezGender & Business Expert

There is a personal and a professional reason that drove me to work in promoting gender equality. One is the example my mother and her 7 sisters set all very strong Mexican women who have overcome adversity in order to succeed professionally. Early on in my career, my work at UNFPA opened my eyes to the importance of women's rights and gender equality in order to achieve sustainable development. Currently, I am happy to carry on with this type of work at VFW by developing financial and non-financial solutions aimed at helping women entrepreneurs and facilitating gender inclusion. I also value the practical nature of the organization's work and the can do attitude of the team. I am based between Mexico City and Washington DC and, in my free time, I like cooking and listening to alternative rock. 

Laura AllanGender & Business Specialist

Having begun my career in a more development sector, with a focus on gender, I soon realized that to reach systemic change, a business approach to gender equality was essential. I love VFWs methods of holistically thinking about gender in a way that is attractive to various different stakeholders to ensure effectiveness and sustainability. I am ever optimistic in the youth of today and love working with young entrepreneurs globally working towards social innovation for good. Outside of work, I like spending time outdoors , reading, and eating freshly baked bagels. I am currently based in Accra, Ghana but grew up just outside of Toronto and love getting home in the warmer months of the year to enjoy a swim in the beautiful lakes of Ontario.

Norman Sarria, Gender & Business Expert

I like to consider myself as a change agent and I feel that my work on gender and business is aligned with who I am. It allows me to influence others through meaningful conversations and collective learning processes, while also learning about their particular perspectives and interests. My job also contributes to improving the lives of others, which is a way to give back to the community. It has a meaning, which is fulfilling. In this sense, I am like VFW. We help others to see things from a different perspective and we drive change. This organisation is not just about advocating, but also about how we can do things; how we can make things happen. My path led me to understand women's struggles and things I could not see before; in fact, I like to think of the organisation as an optician: we help people to see better. I am based in Managua and my passion is photography and perhaps, in the future, I would like to produce a short live-action film. 

You can meet the rest of our team here.
New Publications, Partnerships, Events & Opportunities

New blogs:
Climate finance needs a gender strategy. Here's how we get started
Written by Suzanne Biegel & Rebecca Fries
This article addresses six actions that investors and financial leaders can take in order to drive greater impact in both climate and gender inclusion. Read more here.

Identifying gender bias in banks is an important first step, if a complex one
Written by Rebecca Fries, Aletheia Donald & Salman Alibhai of the World Bank Gender Innovation Lab
One factor in assessing why women access less bank credit compared to men is gender bias. Despite the difficulty in rooting out bias, banks and other financial institutions can take steps forward to identify and address this problem, in turn unlocking an untapped market. 

Female Bank Managers and Female Clients Is there a Link?
Written by Rebecca Fries, Aletheia Donald & Salman Alibhai of the World Bank Gender Innovation Lab
A recent study of the World Bank found that banks with women managers received more credit applications from women, compared to banks with male managers. This blog outlines how hiring and promoting more women managers can help financial institutions tap into an opportunity to address the credit access gap for women borrowers. Read more here.

Announcing some of our new partnerships:
We have been crafting up new collaborations around the globe. Some of these include partnerships with the following organizations:

We are pleased to be working with the Transforming Energy Access programme, led by Carbon Trust. TEA sponsors research and innovation to support the development and deployment of affordable, clean energy solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

This year brings a brand new partnership with FMOthe Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. FMO invests in growth and frontier markets, supporting jobs and income generation, and improving people's lives in those parts of the world where this makes the greatest difference. Through this partnership, FMO seeks to empower its investees in the energy sector to integrate a gender lens into their operations.

Other current and past partners can be found here.

Come work with us!
Looking to become part of our fast-growing team of gender and business experts?
Value for Women is expanding its database of consultants working globally on gender and business. If you would like to be added to our database and receive notification of any upcoming roles at our organization, please send your CV to with "Consultant Database" in the subject line or attach it here using your Google account.

Catch us at these events:

  • Sarah Mills will be at the ANDE London member meeting on March 30th in the UK.

Write to us with ways we can work together, to suggest initiatives, topics or events! Questions, comments or feedback welcomed:

Value for Women
Value for Women

Value for Women is a global advisory services firm with a mission to promote women’s participation and leadership in business, finance and investment around the globe, with a focus on emerging markets.