Historically, few women knew much about finance — they didn’t need to. Few women had jobs or didn’t make much money if they did. They rarely had their own accounts, and if they inherited money, fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, or other men managed it for them. Most women weren’t interested or motivated to learn about finances, and that was okay — at the time.
Today, women are earners, executives, and the ones who make the majority of the household spending and financial decisions. All women, young and old, need to know about finance.
This starts but putting strategies in place that specifically invest in women. The investment strategy known as ‘gender lens investing’ is not limited to financially supporting female entrepreneurs, but can also refer to funding improvements to products and services intended to benefit living and working conditions of women and their families, as well as to investing in the assembly of entire work forces. As a result, gender lens investing can also benefit male entrepreneurs, providing their companies demonstrate a strong awareness of gender diversity
There are a growing number of people working in “gender lens investing”. We start by considering investments through different gender frames or ‘lenses’.
Women effect investors are women, men and institutions. Some are women effect investors without realising it. This is a new field, and it’s evolving.
Looking at a portfolio through these lenses may not mean we have to ‘move’ money from one asset to another or from one investment to another. It might mean keeping everything in place and just asking new questions, seeing patterns and valuing women in all parts of the value chain.
One key frame lies in the fact that women have less access to capital around the globe. This is true in emerging markets in the global south and it’s true in tech start-ups in some areas. The scale, shape and consequences of the problem are different, of course, but the fundamental issue is exactly the same.