How to Invest with a Gender Lens? A guide for investors in emerging markets
Published by: Value for Women

This content is also available in: Português


“This Guide was developed for impact and mission-driven investors (“Investors”) operating in emerging markets to provide concrete, practical pathways for investing with a gender lens. The adoption of Gender Lens Investing strategies amongst investors in emerging markets in turn increases the amount of capital deployed towards women-led and gender inclusive businesses. Specifically, this Guide offers pathways for investment professionals, limited partners (LPs) and general partners (GPs) at impact and mission-driven Venture Capital (VC) and Private Equity (PE) firms that are investing in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Other actors that may also find the Guide useful are limited partners (LPs), asset managers, foundations, family offices and development finance institutions (DFI) that are providing capital to SMEs in emerging markets (Please see Figure 1: Who is this Guide for?). While the investor examples and data presented in the Guide originate from Investing in Women partners and countries of focus, the lessons learned apply broadly to investors operating in emerging markets.

There is no singular or linear path to investing with a gender lens, and there is no single ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to meet the needs and theses of all investors. With that in mind, the Guide outlines various options for investing with a gender lens. We know that gender lens investing is not an “all-or-nothing” scenario. There are multiple ways to integrate progressive practices, including ways that are not resource-intensive. This Guide outlines entry points for investors at any point in their gender lens investing journey and provides various options for decisive actions that can be taken at any stage of the investment process.

There is no single prescribed starting point. Investors can customize their approach to getting started and/or to deepen their involvement. The Guide builds on – and contributes to – a rapidly growing body of knowledge shared within the fields of gender lens investing and development, and is intended to spur action and learning. Recognizing that new resources are continually emerging, this Guide delves into the “how” of gender lens investing and is designed to complement the work of our partners and colleagues cited throughout this paper.”