Tips for Gender Lens Investing
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.