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In the business world, as in so many other parts of society, views on gender are in a state of continuous evolution. It’s no longer enough for companies to merely have women on staff, nor to pay them equally, nor even to place them in the C-suite and the boardroom. The questions today revolve around how fully gender difference is integrated into the whole operation, across a wide range of factors.
The payoff, when it’s done right, can be significant. And for investors who are looking to put their money behind companies that are in line for those payoffs, there is a guiding mantra: gender lens investing.
Why it’s important is because we are starting to realize that so much of the way that we allocate capital is gendered. When we can be aware of that, and we can be aware of our biases, we can be aware of the opportunities, we can make much better investment decisions.
Gender lens investing is a process. It’s the deliberate integration of gender analysis into investment analysis and decision-making. What’s important to understand includes this aspect of lens, not limitation. Oftentimes, as soon as you say gender, people feel like you’re excluding men. This is not an exclusion. This is a lens and not a limitation.