The Japan International Cooperation Agency issued the country's first gender bonds on Monday to promote women's empowerment and education and ensure gender equality in developing nations.

The government-backed aid agency raised a combined 20 billion yen ($181 million) in bonds with maturities of 10 years and 20 years to fund projects in places where women do not have the same opportunities as men to receive education, work, and participate in political activities.

Women-focused assistance has taken on greater importance amid the coronavirus pandemic, with more females subject to domestic violence and deprived of chances for employment or education, according to JICA.

The increase in violence against women is a result of people spending more time at home under hard lockdown measures to fight the COVID-19 outbreak implemented in some nations.

JICA's gender bonds are part of social bonds that are used to address various challenges. Gender equality is among the 17 sustainable development goals set by the United Nations.

The aid agency has launched bonds designed to achieve specific targets. Among them are "TICAD bonds" to help African development, taking the name from the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, a high-level governmental dialogue between Japan and African nations.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, it has issued bonds to improve medical systems and enhance public health in developing nations.