You will hear people saying that investing with a gender lens can be hard. That’s because this is a field that is still relatively new and the structures, language and approaches are still being developed. We know that finding product can be hard, especially in certain jurisdictions – although we are encouraged by recent activity that suggests that it’s becoming increasingly easier. Throughout the Women Effect pilot year, we have heard that talking to financial advisor or perhaps family members for the first time about why they want to use a gender lens the first time can be hard. We talk a lot about the the great data debate and that is certainly not straightforward. And certainly, finding investible solutions around intractable problems like human trafficking or the porn industry will be hard.
But I worry that people who are new to the community get the message that it’s always hard because it’s not. When you ask a question about gender at an Investment Committee that takes the discussion to a deeper level of analysis, you are practising gender lens investing. When you ask for sex-disaggregated data from a company you are diligencing…whether it’s available now or your question causes it to be so in the future….you are a gender lens investor. When you attend a TOOLKIT or deepen your understanding by delving into some of the gender lens resources, you are sharpening your Gender Lens Investing tools.
And while we salute all of you who are bringing new products and funds to market we also want to highlight quick easy things you can do today to move your money with a gender lens — SheEO, Kiva and Jenny Kassan are offering great opportunities for those of you who have been at this for years and for those of you who are just dipping your toe in.