| 16-05-2024

Four things to consider if you want to strengthen your gender lens investment strategy


Many impact investors are starting to use a gender lens investment strategy as a proven way to increase positive social impact while also maximising profits. However, impact investors who are still figuring out how to incorporate a gender lens approach can benefit from the lessons learned by those who have already walked a similar path.

Els Boerhof, managing partner of Goodwell Investments, has the following four tips for impact investors who want to refine their gender lens investing strategy:

1. Commit to Inclusivity and Diversity

One of the fundamental pillars of successful gender lens investing is a genuine commitment to inclusivity and diversity within investment practices. It is not merely about meeting quotas or ticking boxes but about fostering a culture where diverse perspectives are valued and integrated into decision-making processes. Impact investors must prioritise building diverse teams and inclusive environments that not only attract diverse talent but also actively support their growth and development. If this is not your area of expertise, speak to trained DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) specialists.

2. Take a Holistic Approach to Gender Lens Investing

Gender lens investing goes beyond simply investing in women-led businesses or promoting gender equality within portfolio companies. It involves understanding the unique needs and challenges faced by women as entrepreneurs, consumers, and members of society. Impact investors should take a holistic approach that considers the impact of their investments on women at all levels, from leadership positions to workforce participation to end-users of products and services. Take the much-needed risks, as you’ll never know what creates an impact if you don’t try.

3. Measure and Evaluate your Impact

Effective gender lens investing requires thoughtfully designed systems for measuring and evaluating the impact of investments on women and gender equality outcomes. Impact investors should establish clear metrics and indicators to track the social and financial performance of gender-focused investments. By collecting and analysing relevant data, investors can assess the effectiveness of their gender lens strategies, identify areas for improvement, and communicate impact achievements to stakeholders.

4. Collaborate and Share Knowledge

Navigating the complexities of gender lens investing can be challenging, especially for impact investors who are new to this approach. Collaborating with like-minded organisations, engaging in knowledge-sharing initiatives, and seeking out partnerships with experts in the field can provide valuable insights and support. By learning from the experiences of others and sharing best practices, impact investors can enhance their gender lens investment strategies and drive greater impact.

In conclusion, gender lens investing represents a powerful opportunity for impact investors to advance gender equality, drive social change, and achieve financial returns. By embracing the lessons outlined above, impact investors can overcome challenges and unlock the full potential of gender lens investment strategies. As the landscape of impact investing continues to evolve, those who embrace gender equality as a core value will be better positioned to create sustainable and meaningful change in the world.

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