What is Gender Lens Investing?
Gender lens investors use gender as a category of analysis when making investment decisions. In mapping approaches to gender lens investing WEI has found that most include one or more of three primary investment objectives or “lenses”:
- Investments that increase access to capital for women entrepreneurs and businesses that have women in leadership positions
- Investments that promote gender equity in the workplace by investing in private sector companies with leading gender policies that also extend across their supply chains
- Investments that increase the number of products and services that benefit women and girls by directing capital to socially responsible businesses that develop and offer these products and services
We consider investing in funds or other investment vehicles that use one or more of these lenses gender lens investing. It is possible that as we build the field and learn from gender and investment experts that the definition of gender lens investing will expand to include additional lenses.
Today’s philanthropists have been energized by stories and research that detail the profound impact of investing in women and girls. And women donors, in particular, have focused their charitable assets toward supporting women—and transformed the landscape of philanthropy in the process. However, the world of financial services offers only a handful of gender lens investment vehicles that enable women and allies to move significant investment assets toward generating the Women Effect. Our work is motivated by the magnitude of social challenges facing women and girls and the simple fact that mobilizing our portfolios with a gender lens means moving trillions verses billions.
This initiative is enabled by a generous set of individual philanthropic donors who believe in the importance of building the field of gender lens investing. The field-building work that WEI coordinates is then powered by a robust and pioneering set of collaborators – from individuals to leading social change organizations – that are passionate about addressing the needs of women and girls and realizing the power of investing as a lever for doing so.