Women Effect is an initiative which transitioned in 2017 to the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, to provide an information hub for content and experience in the field of investing with a gender lens, women as investors, and investing to have a positive effect on women and girls. Women Effect was originally an independent initiative, founded by Suzanne Biegel, fiscally sponsored by Criterion Institute and supported by a visionary group of funders. The initiative moved to WSII in March, 2017, with some significant changes, carrying forward a research and evidence building agenda and helping a variety of actors to make sense of this emerging field.
The work of many visionary leaders has inspired a movement that believes in the power of finance to achieve large-scale social impact and to address some of our most pressing economic and social issues. The goal with Women Effect was to increase the capital moving with a gender lens, creating durable and systemic change for women and girls worldwide – both as investors and beneficiaries of invested capital. As the initiative shifted to WSII, the work is framed in some new contexts. The field of gender lens investing is in its early stages and spans a broad diversity of actors and activities. In addition to her other industry roles and consulting, Suzanne Biegel is Senior Gender Lens Investing Adviser at WSII. This fits in with the broader work of Catalyst at Large to inspire and activate people and institutions to move more capital, more strategically, with more velocity, with a gender lens.