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Over the last five years, the size of the global ESG market has almost doubled, reaching a total of $40.5 trillion in 2020.

Gender lens investing has grown significantly as well in the same period, with the number of private markets vehicles growing from 50 to more than 200 since 2017, and public markets investment to $11B at the end of 2020, following a $2.9B investment from Japanese pension fund GPIF into Morningstar’s Gender Diversity Index.

While significant, these numbers are still a drop in the ocean compared to the mammoth size and reach of ESG investments, which Bloomberg estimates…

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As the gender lens investing field grows in size and profile, one question I get asked a lot is how to separate the funds that are investing with a broad gender lens, from the funds that are focused on transformative impact for women.

Most frequently, I hear this question from impact investors and philanthropists who want to use investment as a tool for women’s empowerment and wellbeing — be it in healthcare, education, or something else. But this focus on transformative impact is also increasingly in the vernacular of a broader range of investors.

It’s a complicated question to answer…

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The last few months have seen a suite of new books and resources from leading thinkers in the investment community that either touch upon or more deeply examine gender-smart investing. This explosion of gender-smart literature speaks to both a growing interest in women’s financial empowerment, and a hunger amongst investors — men and women — more generally for information about moving their money is smart and in a way that aligns with their values.

These books all tackle gender-smart investing from different perspectives, and are great resources to share with your friends, colleagues, clients, to deepen your own thinking, or…

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Last month, Goldman Sachs made headlines with One Million Black Women, its impressive $10B investment commitment and $100M philanthropic commitment to support the advancement of Black women in the United States. The commitment was significant for both its size, its clear impact focus, and its impressive group of advisors, including gender-smart investor Melissa Bradley of 1863 Ventures.

This month, Goldman Sachs is making headlines for a very different reason: a resolution at its annual meeting on April 29, where shareholders will vote on whether the bank should do away with its mandatory arbitration policy.

Mandatory arbitration is a controversial business…

From left to right: US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo

The popular belief that women run economies differently than men do isn’t just based on gender stereotypes. Increasingly, as more women take the helm of our global financial institutions, there is evidence that it is grounded in reality.

In an article for Reuters this week, journalist Andrea Shal wrote about the impact that women leaders such as US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai are already having on the US economy — tying their influence to new policy initiatives such as the Biden administration’s $400B investment in the care economy

Image: May Chanikran

If 2020 taught us one thing, it’s that the future will continue to unfold in ways we can’t predict.

The global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic (and later, the Black Lives Matter protests and reckoning) forced all of us to change our plans for the year: from the solutions we were building, to speed at which we were building them, to how we would release them into the world, to the questions we asked ourselves and each other about what “good” looks like when it comes to alpha, equity, and impact.

But the year also featured plentiful bright spots in…

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Like many groups of people working towards systemic change, the gender lens investing field can be divided into broad two camps: Disruptors and Shifters, or those who believe that the global finance system is so broken that it needs to be remade from the ground up, and those who believe that the best way to change the system is to work within it.

These two groups of players are often framed as being in opposition to one another, but the truth is that we need both kinds of people to achieve the kind of systemic transformation and mass movement of…

At the beginning of the northern hemisphere summer, as people took to the streets around the world for Black Lives Matter, my phone began to ring off the hook with investors wanting to know how they could invest more intentionally with an eye to both gender, and racial and ethnic diversity and equity.

The last few months have been a time of reckoning for so many industries and sectors, and gender lens investing is no exception. Our field is grounded in principles of equity and justice. But too often in our fight to make sure that women are seen and…

Last month, I published an article detailing five areas gender-smart investors should be looking at in emerging markets if we want to pave the road to recovery and rebuilding post-COVID-19.

I argued that COVID-19 was not solely a health crisis but also a social and economic crisis, and that if we want to make sure the coronavirus doesn’t leave women further behind, we need to be paying attention to its impacts on arenas such as care and unpaid labor, young women’s pathways from education to employment, financial inclusion, access to technology, and energy.

The same is true in the world’s…


The COVID-19 crisis has spurred rapid investment in public health responses such as testing and vaccines, and rightly so.

But the novel coronavirus isn’t solely a health crisis: it’s also a social and economic crisis that is impacting and reshaping every part of our lives. This means that our investment response to the crisis needs to look beyond the health impacts, to issues and sectors that might not immediately come to mind when you think of a global pandemic.

This is the first in a series of two articles — the first focused on emerging markets, and the second on…

suzanne biegel

Catalyst at Large

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