Asia is home to 60 per cent of the world’s population, so if we’re going to make headway with any global challenges, we need to see positive change in the region.
To tackle gender equality, one of the UN’s sustainable development goals, 18 influential Asian women banded together on International Women’s Day last year as founding members of the Asia Gender Network (AGN). It’s powered by AVPN, a social investment network, with operational costs covered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“This is not just another women’s network,” says AVPN CEO Naina Subberwal Batra. “The Asian Gender Network will use its resources to amplify initiatives and scale solutions for some of the most neglected or underrepresented sectors that the region faces.”
They’re attracted by the chance to collaborate more widely with accomplished peers across the region and by the network’s Asian identity, according to Patricia Mathias, head of the AVPN gender platform. “We’ve all grown up here and understand the cultural nuances and the need to solve our problems our way—for Asia by Asia,” she says.
In 2021, AGN raised more than US$10 million to combat problems ranging from justice for survivors of violence to support for female entrepreneurs to eradicating modern slavery. Membership has grown to 32 women who hail from 15 Asian markets, among them, Veronica Colondam, Mercedes Lopez-Vargas, and Grace Forrest.
Women reinvest 90 per cent of their income into their families. To create economic progress and improve outcomes for all of Asia, we need to invest in female entrepreneurs— Renyung Ho