Gender Lens Investing Initiative

Fall 2017 - Spring 2019
The GIIN’s Gender Lens Investing Initiative supported impact investors, actively integrating, or interested in integrating, a gender lens strategy into their investment portfolio. While the Gender Lens Investing Initiative and Working Group have concluded, the GIIN is committed to continuing to serve as a knowledge hub for gender lens investing. See below for more information and resources.


In October 2017, the GIIN launched an initiative to explore the opportunities and challenges in catalyzing and scaling gender lens investing. The GIIN defines gender lens investing within two broad categories:

Investing with the intent to address gender issues or promote gender equity, including by:

  • Investing in women-owned or -led enterprises
  • Investing in enterprises that promote workplace equity (in staffing, management, boardroom representation, and along their supply chains); or
  • Investing in enterprises that offer products or services that substantially improve the lives of women and girls

 And/or investing with the following approaches to inform investment decisions:

  • a process that focuses on gender, from pre-investment activities (e.g., sourcing and due diligence) to post-deal monitoring (e.g., strategic advisory and exiting); or
  • a strategy that examines, with respect to the investee enterprises:
    • Their vision or mission to address gender issues
    • Their organizational structure, culture, internal policies, and workplace environment;
    • Their use of data and metrics for the gender-equitable management of performance and to incentivize behavioral change and accountability; and
    • How their financial and human resources signify overall commitment to gender equality.

Source: The Landscape for Impact Investing in Southeast Asia, GIIN 2018

Key Objectives and Activities

Through the collective learnings and outputs of its activities, the GIIN’s Gender Lens Investing Initiative aimed to build a compelling case for gender lens investing, and ultimately, to increase the amount of capital deployed with a gender lens. 

To achieve these objectives, the activities pursued by the Initiative include:

  • Compilation of a database on gender lens investing allocations and strategies
  • Quarterly webinars on gender lens investing (December 2017 - September 2018)
  • Convenings of a Gender Lens Investing Working Group (August 2018 - May 2019)

Gender Lens Investing (GLI) Working Group

  • The GLI Working Group was a subset of the GIIN membership consisting of 130+ individuals from over 70 organizations both active or interested in pursuing GLI. It provided a platform to share collective learnings and explore the opportunities and challenges in catalyzing and scaling GLI.
  • Among other activities, Working Group members have contributed their insight and expertise to the following resources:
    • GLI Case Studies. A set of case studies on how GIIN members, Glenmede and Phatisa, developed their GLI strategies.
    • Navigating Impact Project Gender Lens Theme. A resource created to help investors select GLI impact strategies and adopt metrics that indicate performance toward those goals. View the Navigating Impact Project Gender Lens Theme here >
    • Online GLI Resource Repository. A curated set of GLI reports and case studies to help make the business case for gender lens investing and showcase how to invest with a gender lens. View the GLI Resource Repository here >

Advisory Committee

This Initiative benefited from the guidance and leadership of an Advisory Committee composed of representatives with relevant experience and sector expertise in gender lens investing. These organizations include Calvert Impact Capital, Catalyst at Large, Gender Secretariat at International Finance Corporation (IFC), Investing in Women, Phatisa, and RobecoSAM.

More Information

For more information or questions on the GIIN Gender Lens Investing Initiative or for more information, please contact the Membership Team at


We are grateful to Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government, and BNY Mellon for their support of the Gender Lens Investing Initiative.

Stay Connected

Sign-up to receive our newsletter and announcements about the latest impact investing news, events, and GIINsights