New Toolkit for Gender-Lens Investing Released by the Equality Fund to Help Investors Invest for Gender Equality

The Equality Fund today launched the Equality Fund Gender-Lens Investing (GLI) Criteria, a comprehensive free resource for investment decision-makers everywhere who are interested in unlocking a more impactful approach to gender-lens investing.  

The Criteria are a set of screens that can be integrated into the investment due-diligence process to analyze how investment decisions impact women, girls, and trans people. The goal of these lenses is to guide more intentional, positively impactful investments that have the potential to unlock power, voice, and access for over half of the population.

"Investment professionals have told us they need robust tools to make meaningful decisions with women, girls, and trans people at the centre. This is one of those tools — and we are thrilled to make it available to the world. We hope that the Equality Fund Gender-Lens Investing Criteria can help fuel the growth of the gender-lens ecosystem," said Jess Houssian, co-CEO of the Equality Fund.

The new Criteria have been created by the Equality Fund, in consultation with RockCreek, its Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO). To build the Criteria, the Equality Fund used best-in-class GLI frameworks, integrating robust impact methodology from the Global Impact Investing Network's IRIS+ along with 2X Global's 2X Challenge Criteria to consider a wide range of measurable gender-lens factors. 

"The Equality Fund Gender-Lens Investing (GLI) Criteria are so useful for investors who are interested in GLI but struggling with how. The investment industry is keen on evidence and this methodology promotes transparency and aims to increase accountability amongst intentional investors. Putting strategy into practice is just the beginning of an evolving and impactful journey to increase capital access to underrepresented groups whilst achieving sustainable returns," said Andia Chakava, Chair of the Equality Fund Investment Advisory Council.

The Equality Fund model combines grantmaking, philanthropy, investment, and policy advocacy to shift power and resources to girls, women, and trans people worldwide. With over $250 trillion USD in the global capital markets — and growing — gender-lens investing is one important lever to ensure ways to disrupt all systems where power remains concentrated and inaccessible. There is significant lack of investment in women-owned businesses: In 2021, women business founders in the United States raised just two percent of all venture capital in 2021, a percentage that has remained stagnant since 2008. It's even more challenging for Black women, who receive less than 0.35 percent of all venture capital funding.

Gender-lens investing is defined as investing for financial and social impact, with the intent to address gender equality issues or promote gender equity. It offers a mechanism to effect change from within the investment ecosystem. The ecosystem is steadily growing, with the total value of public equity and fixed-income gender-lens investing funds having grown to over $12 billion USD, while gender-lens investing offerings have raised $6 billion USD in 2021 in private markets.

A comprehensive toolkit for investors

The Criteria are just one tool in a body of work that the Equality Fund is sharing publicly as it builds a feminist investment program from the ground up. Today, the Equality Fund is also sharing the Equality Fund's Intersectional Investment Guidelines, the foundation upon which the Criteria are built. The Intersectional Investment Guidelines ensure that all of the Criteria are rooted in the pursuit of systems change, grounding each investment decision within our broader goals of disrupting the status quo and redistributing power. 

DOWNLOAD the Equality Fund Gender-Lens Investing Criteria:

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About the Equality Fund 

The Equality Fund is a new model for sustainable investment in global feminist movements. Backed by a $300 million contribution from the Government of Canada, it unites gender-lens investing, bold government funding, and powerful, multi-sector philanthropy to unlock new capital for women's rights organizations and movements. The Equality Fund has committed $53 million CAD to date to support over 300 organizations working in 85 countries.

Source: Equality Fund

About Equality Fund

The Equality Fund is transforming the way that resources—and power— flow into the hands of girls, women, and trans people worldwide. Designed by feminists for feminists, it offers a new model for sustainably resourcing feminist movements everywhere.

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