Giving Compass’ Take:
• Ahmed Aslam and Raya Papp discuss the expansion of gender lens investing across South Asia as an indication of funders’ increased attention to the value of women.
• Why does gender lens investing still have a long ways to go in elevating women’s voices? What are you doing to get involved with gender investment strategies?
The gender lens investing (GLI) market has grown by 61 percent globally since 2018. Today, there are as many as 192 gender lens investment vehicles, with 20 funds that have South Asia as a target investment destination. In fact, our most recent study—Gender Lens Investing Landscape—found that South Asia has raised more gender lens capital than Southeast Asia and East Asia.
GLI is also a factor that cuts across all asset classes—including private equity and debt, as well as public equity and fixed income. Like impact investing, it is a lens or approach that can be applied across sectors as well. Perhaps it is more easily understood as a type of impact and thus connected to the impact investing sector, but it has a significant presence in sectors outside of impact investing as well, such as technology and the ‘she economy’.
When the idea of GLI first came about, it focussed specifically on getting capital to women entrepreneurs. The reason for this was simple—there was (and still is) a disparity between the number of female and male entrepreneurs who get funded, with women-led enterprises capturing less than three percent of global venture capital in 2017. Soon after, the scope expanded to also consider the number of women in the workforce.
Today, the definition is significantly broader. GLI looks at women in the value chain, as suppliers, partners, or even consumers. This could mean products and services designed to meet the specific needs of women, for instance, women’s health and well-being. It could also mean considering gender as a factor in the marketing, sales, and distribution of a product or service, for instance, organisations that leverage women’s networks and community groups for distribution.
Read the full article about gender lens investing by Ahmed Aslam and Raya Papp at India Development Review.
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