Gender-smart investing integrates gender-based factors into investment strategy and analysis in order to increase returns and move towards gender equality.

Employing strategies that recognise gender can help investors spot market opportunities where others might miss them, while simultaneously creating a more equitable world for everyone.

This can be achieved in a variety of ways: by improving women’s access to capital by investing in businesses that are woman-led, co-founded, or owned; by investing in products and services that capture the women’s market, or that help to solve social issues that disproportionately impact women and girls; by creating funds with a strong approach to gender equity and diversity, or by using a gender lens to identify potential risks and opportunities in the value chain.

Gender-smart investors recognise that improving the lives of women and girls means thinking about where men and boys fit into the picture, and thus may also invest in products and initiatives that explicitly shift the roles of men and boys.

The gender-smart investing field is growing rapidly in size and impact, with US$4.5 billion deployed through structured vehicles with a gender lens mandate. A 2016 report from the US Sustainable Investment Forum found that gender factors had impacted the management of nearly $132 billion in money manager assets, and $397 billion in institutional investor assets.