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How to invest with a gender lens: A guide for investors in emerging markets

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How to invest with a gender lens: A guide for investors in emerging markets

How to invest with a gender lens: A guide for investors in emerging markets

Globally, awareness of gender lens investing continues to gain momentum, but this awareness must translate to action and movement of capital, especially during this period of COVID-19 response and recovery. Thus, how fund managers invest is just as important as what they invest in. This perspective not only demands a technical approach (gender analysis, tools, and frameworks), but also broader organizational re-alignment (gender mainstreaming). This internal process is an essential part of creating external change and outcomes that advance gender equality.

This How-To Guide provides practical tools and resources for an investing community that urgently needs to address its diversity and inclusion deficits.

The Gender Lens Investing Framework prescribes three entry points for investors:

  • Providing capital to women-led and gender-forward businesses
  • Applying a gender lens across the investment process
  • Advancing gender diversity in the investment firm

Because there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, investors can use these actions as a reference and adopt all or a hybrid depending on their starting points, motivations, and objectives. Further to that, investors can add more elements incrementally to steadily increase their gender inclusion practices and gender impacts


  • Preface from Investing in Women
  • Who is this Guide for and what does it set out to do?
  • What is Gender Lens Investing? A Framework for Gender Lens Investing
  • Why invest with a gender lens?
  • Provide capital with a gender lens
    • Decide which gender lens to apply
    • Define what women-led businesses or gender forward businesses mean for the investment firm
    • Identify women-led and gender forward businesses already in the portfolio
    • Develop a strategy for allocating capital with a gender lens
  • How to apply a gender lens across the investment process
    • Deal Origination & Screening: Identify opportunities for gender lens investing
    • Due Diligence & Evaluation: Apply a gender lens to evaluation decisions
    • Structuring & Negotiation: Set gender-related milestones
    • Post(pre)-deal engagement: Influence and support portfolio companies to apply a gender lens
    • Exit & Measurement: Build the business case for GLI through data and assign appropriate expectations for gender lens investing
  • How to advance gender diversity across the investment firm
  • Contribute to Building the Gender Lens Investing Field
  • Moving Forward
  • Annex 1: Gender lens Investing Resources for Investors


This document was originally published on the Value for Women website.

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