Tips for Gen­der Lens In­vest­ing

Rotman Management Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

De­sign women, not them. Women should be in­volved at ev­ery stage of the dis­cus­sion about in­vest­ing with a gen­der lens, and in sig­nif­i­cant enough num­bers that they are not merely to­kens. Use a gen­der lens to rather than op­por­tu­ni­ties. A gen­der anal­y­sis is not only a screen that narrows the scope of ac­tion; it can also un­cover hid­den op­por­tu­ni­ties or un­ex­pected in­sights. Don’t be afraid of quo­tas. Quo­tas are a blunt in­stru­ment, but of­ten a use­ful way to start a con­ver­sa­tion. For ex­am­ple, by ask­ing if there are at least three women on a com­pany’s board of di­rec­tors, one can be­gin a con­ver­sa­tion about why there are not. Use a gen­der lens across the en­tire value chain. Op­por­tu­ni­ties for shift­ing value and em­pow­er­ing women can come dur­ing all phases of the process, in­clud­ing fi­nanc­ing, de­sign, pro­duc­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion and af­ter-sales ser­vice. As­sume im­plicit bias against women un­til proven oth­er­wise. Men and women alike are so­cial­ized within a gen­dered sys­tem. Look for un­con­scious bi­ases in met­rics, de­ci­sion-mak­ing pro­cesses and ‘how things are done around here’. Start to­day. Fo­cus­ing on gen­der can feel like a minefield, but the up­side of un­cov­er­ing hid­den op­por­tu­ni­ties is too good to pass up.

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