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Pro Mujer: Transforming Women’s Lives in LatAm

Ellan Dineen
18 March 2024less than a min
Carmen Correa, CEO of Pro Mujer

During our annual International Women’s Day celebrations on 8 March 2024, we had the pleasure of welcoming representatives from Latin America -based nonprofit organisation Pro Mujer to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) to celebrate the listing of its trailblazing gender bond at our exchange.

To mark this important milestone for the organisation and the women of Latin America, we sat down with Pro Mujer’s CEO Carmen Correa to hear more about the bond and the organisations 33+ years of work.

From Bolivia and beyond

“In 1990, we began our journey in El Alto, Bolivia, with the firm belief that empowering women and providing them with access to finance were essential tools to eradicating poverty,” says Carmen Correa, CEO of Pro Mujer.

More than 30 years later, this belief has gone on to impact more than 2.5 million women in Latin America, particularly in the 3 areas of Pro Mujer’s focus: Health & Well-Being, Financial Inclusion and Skilling Opportunities.

This firm belief and commitment to empowering the women of Latin America now sees Pro Mujer offices standing proud in Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico, and Nicaragua in addition to its original office in Bolivia. With the organisation also being represented digitally in 21 other countries all over the world, it’s safe to say that its impact and work are now global.

Fuelling female entrepreneurship

Pro Mujer’s ARS 370 million (equivalent to USD 1 million) gender bond, which was listed at LuxSE and displayed on the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX) on International Women’s Day this year represents an important development for gender finance in Latin America.

“In 2023, we made history in Latin America by becoming the first non-traditional issuer to issue a gender bond,” says Carmen Correa.

The bond, which is the second gender bond to be issued by the organisation, provides nearly 1,300 loans to low-income female entrepreneurs in Argentina who own a micro or small business.

Women just like Agustina, Carmen Correa notes, who “walks the streets of Salta, Argentina, selling food she cooked herself. These products, made with dedication and from recipes passed down through generations, now enable her to support her family and lead a dignified and prosperous life. A loan, made possible through our bond, gave her the opportunity she needed to expand her kitchen and buy materials.”

This, of course, is just one example of the nearly 1,300 women whose lives have changed in the last few months since the bond made its debut and comes in addition to the 510+ additional jobs created through the women-led businesses that benefited from one of these loans.

Building life skills

The bond, which focuses on providing loans to women aged between 18 and 60, also includes credit lines extended to grant access to health services, capacity building and financial education – not just for these women, but also for their families.

In a case study published by LuxSE, Pro Mujer and UN Women, it’s noted that on average, those who received loans took part in two financial education courses ranging from budgeting to revenue control and even design skills.

“The training they gave us, from how to start a business, how to save, how to manage our business, helped me on a daily basis so that we could reach our quota, be more profitable and grow much more,” says Sil, another Argentinian woman who has been able to expand her business thanks to a loan financed by Pro Mujer’s gender bond.

Encouraging uptake

The way in which Pro Mujer’s investor base diversified through the issuance of this gender bond is also noteworthy.

“While banks dominated our first gender bond issuance, this second issuance saw a threefold increase in individual investors,” says the CEO of Pro Mujer.

This means that in the 7 months between Pro Mujer’s Series I and II issuances, gender-lens investing had gained a lot of traction – beyond the traditional banking sector that helped launch the organisation’s gender bond success.

Financing for inclusion

“Women represent more than half of the world's population, and unlocking their potential is crucial for economic and social development,” Carmen Correa continues.

Indeed, if 50% of the world’s population continue to struggle with being underserved and unable to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive economy, then achieving any other sort of progress towards the other global goals will be extremely difficult.

Through the work of Pro Mujer, and other such organisations throughout the world, women are being given the opportunity to become financially independent, ensure better lives for their families and help build the more sustainable and inclusive world that we must achieve by 2030.

Steadfast support

LuxSE is proud to support Pro Mujer in its journey into international capital markets and strives to become the reference exchange for gender-focused bond issuers and investors who integrate a gender-lens in their investment strategies. To make the bond easily to identify for impact-conscious investors, the Pro Mujer bond carries LuxSE’s dedicated gender-focused bond flag on its security card.

Want to learn more about the real-world impact of Pro Mujer’s gender bonds? Check out our dedicated case study.
Gender-focused bonds
Securities that advance gender equality and women's empowerment
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