Investing in Women

| February 17, 2012

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When you invest in women, you invest in their communities and you make the world a better place.            Joy Anderson-  President, Criterion Institute

The Women Effect

Women Effect Investments (WEI) is a field-building initiative of Criterion Ventures that seeks to mobilize more investment dollars toward improving the condition of women and girls worldwide.

We are doing this because when women are economic agents and leaders, social change accelerates and returns multiply.  The returns of women-focused investing can be measured in our families, our neighborhoods, and on the other side of the world.  This is The Women Effect.

Today’s philanthropists have been energized by stories and research that detail the profound impact of investing in women and girls. And women donors, in particular, have focused their charitable assets toward supporting women—and transformed the landscape of philanthropy in the process. However, the world of financial services offers few vehicles that enable women and allies to move significant investment assets toward generating the Women Effect.

Women Effect Investments seeks to:

  • Create and empower a community of women investors to place their assets in a diverse group of vehicles and expand the seat at the table for women in social investing
  • Strengthen and create new investment opportunities with a gender lens by supporting the efforts of a diverse set of financial intermediaries.

What is Gender Lens Investing?

Gender lens investing is making investment decisions that benefit women and girls while seeking a financial return.  In mapping approaches to gender lens investing we have found that most include one or more of three primary investment objectives or “lenses”:

  • Investments that increase access to capital for women entrepreneurs and businesses that have women in leadership positions
  • Investments that promote workplace equity by investing in private sector companies that have women on boards and in senior leadership positions
  • Investments that increase the number of products and services that benefit women and girls by investing in socially responsible businesses that develop and offer these products and services

We consider investing in funds or other investment vehicles that use one or more of these lenses gender lens investing. It is possible that as we build the field and learn from gender and investment experts that the definition of gender lens investing will expand to include other lenses.

Reprinted from Criterion Ventures

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Category: Sustainable Small-B