As we continue to face challenges to achieving gender equality, we need to deploy all the strategies at our disposal to create the social change we seek. Finance is one strategy, along with media, policy, community activism and corporate engagement. Investing with a gender lens is an extension of gender lens philanthropy. It builds on the networks, the power, and the experience of women’s funds.
Women’s funds have been one of Criterion’s key partners as we’ve worked to shape capital markets over the past 15 years. This document is core to our mission to demystify finance and broaden the perspective of change makers to engage with and shift financial systems. We want to share the knowledge we have gained with others who can influence this complex system of power in ways that create the changes we seek.
About the Blueprint
The Blueprint is a document about social change, written for change makers. The focus is how philanthropic organizations committed to gender equality can use finance as a tool for social change. It functions as a model, to provide guidance. It is a metaphor for the technical process of developing a detailed plan or a program of action. The focus is on plans, rather than on case studies. The field of gender lens investing is still learning how to do this work, and so the blueprint presents a framework that expands the imagination of leaders in a specific context, so they can transform design into reality.
Over the last year, Ms. Foundation, Global Fund for Women and Criterion Institute – with the support of Wallace Global Fund – engaged with many women’s funds, piloted a series of activities, and refined the framework to develop the Blueprint. Wallace is an appropriate funder for this work as they have provided leadership throughout the growth of the field of gender lens investing, with a particular intent to make sure the field stays connected to and accountable to women’s rights organizations.
Who can use this Blueprint?
Although we are building this for women’s funds as our key audience, we see the lessons in the Blueprint more broadly relevant for organizations and individuals that have a commitment to issues effecting women and girls, for example, philanthropists and foundations, non-governmental organizations with gender programs, and community-based social change organizations.
In addition, investment professionals, while not the primary audience, can make use of this information to think through how to collaborate with gender-based organizations and design strategies to use finance to create gender equitable social change.
Please share any reflections or stories you may have with Simi Shah, shah at criterioninstitute dot org.