Our Gender Work: Adding Gender Analysis to Financial Analysis
To create an economy that works for all we need to shift what matters in our financial decision-making, including taking gender seriously.
If we understood gender differently how would we assign value in finance differently?
From the beginning, Criterion played a significant role in creating and defining the Gender Lens Investing field. Over the years, we have focused that role and directed our efforts where we felt we could make the most impact. We began with (re)Value Gender, which built key research methodology that bridges gender expertise and finance expertise and creates a space for leaders to practice, build insight, and produce evidence. We looked for examples of bias, where value was misassigned; missed opportunities, what finance calls alpha; and missed risk, or what finance calls beta.
More recently, we have aligned our mission as on organization not just with moving capital toward gender lens investments, but toward equipping people to participate in making the connections between gender and finance. In 2015 we released two reports: The State of the Field of Gender Lens Investing, which provided a review of the field and identified several pathways to move gender lens investing forward, and Gender Lens Investing in Asia which was a collaboration between Criterion and USAID.
Researching and writing these two pieces led us to prioritize finding proof points, that is, insights that would expand the imagination and the depth of thinking around how gender matters in finance. This is why we are now driving our research agenda forward while training individuals and institutions to become a base of leaders that will herald gender lens investing into the future.
For training and research to have long term impact, we most recently are working to shift the thinking of women’s studies programs and women’s and girls’ organizations, as well as to continue influencing financial institutions to integrate gender. In April 2016 we held a Summit in Washington, D.C. with the Wallace Global Fund that brought together leaders in women’s organizations with leaders in social finance. And our ongoing work in engaging institutions, such as our current project on with the Ms. Foundation and the Global Fund for Women, continues this work of building bridges between women’s organizations and the world of finance.
There are many ways for you to get involved in this work, and we encourage you to explore our website to find the best fit for you.
Criterion helps financial professionals, institutions, and organizations that benefit women and girls discover how they can pair financial analysis with gender analysis and impact through a one-day workshop called TOOLKIT for Gender Lens Investing. This workshop is both for people who work on gender based issues and want to explore finance as a tool for social change, and also for investors and philanthropists who are working to incorporate gender analysis into their investment approach. This workshop can be customized to address a specific project of issue, like food security or low-income housing, and is available through public events or a private workshop.
Since the summer of 2015, The Wharton Social Impact Initiative has been helping to coordinate Gender Lens Investing Insights alongside Criterion Institute. Each semester, a select group of student fellows comes together to research early-stage insights in gender lens investing. Insights are drawn from industry leaders and experts, who help to identify leading trends. Criterion then works within our network to find opportunities for implementation, while fellows illustrate the insights and proof points through multiple sources of evidence.
Our Research Platform for Gender Lens Investing has many projects in the works, several of which are collaborative with external individual and institutional partners. On current project involves putting a gender lens on investments in education-technology (commonly referred to as ed-tech) and asking, how can investors incorporate an understanding of how to value women and girls within their ed-tech investment? Another project, which involves collaboration with fund managers and advisors like Fulcrum Capital, Caprock Group, and Trillium Asset Management, is researching strategies for robust gender analysis in public equities, including benchmarking and evaluating performance.
Lastly, our gender work is continually implemented through our many institutional relationships and made available to the public through published white papers, blog series, and listservs that you can sign up to receive.