Criterion Institute held a quarterly dialogue series on key issues impacting the field of gender lens investing on Monday, March 13, 2023.
Gender lens investing presents an incredible opportunity to activate new resources and engage new actors in the work of advancing gender equality around the globe. Trillions of dollars are already said to be invested across asset classes with a gender lens. As momentum in the field is gathering and increasing amounts of capital are flowing, the urgency to “get it right” is at an all-time high. Will gender lens investing truly disrupt systemic injustices and create pathways to a more equitable distribution of power and resources? How can we ensure that those most impacted by the problems gender lens investing is seeking to solve are meaningfully engaged in the design of new interventions? What standards could be put in place to regulate and guide investments intended to contribute to gender transformative change?
The answers to these questions depend upon how the complex power dynamics involved in the ongoing development of the field are addressed. Without analyzing power – who has it, who doesn’t, and how to change the status quo – gender lens investing could end up replicating and reinforcing the very inequities in systems of finance that the emerging field is seeking to address. The open, interactive dialogues will utilize the Framework for Analyzing Power Dynamics in the Work of Building Fields from Criterion’s Disrupting Fields publication to inform conversations about theories of change, desired outcomes, the design of strategies and standards, and other areas relevant to participants’ areas of work and interest.
This dialogue series is intended for social change leaders who are actively engaged in shaping the field of gender lens investing. The sessions will present opportunities to exchange ideas, deepen understanding, generate new insights, forge partnerships, and uncover pathways to action.