Gender Lens Investing

GLI applies gender analysis to investments and systems of finance in order to capitalize on the social and economic benefits of empowering women.



Additional information




Asia, Oceania, South America

Location: Ghana, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam

Organization: World University Service of Canada

About the Wise Practice

Pioneered by the Criterion Institute, a think tank based in the United States, and taken up and adapted by an increasing variety of actors over the past decade, Gender Lens Investing (GLI) is defined as “the incorporation of a gender analysis into the practice of investments and the systems of finance. This includes how value is assigned, how relationships are structured, and how processes work.” GLI is still a relatively new concept. According to the Criterion Institute, there are three basic ways that an investment can impact gender: 1) access to capital; 2) workplace equity; 3) products and services that benefit women and girls. Applying GLI in context requires navigating several complex, interconnected dimensions; gender influences the structure of a society, and investors need to work within and understand these structures, even while they may be actively seeking to change them.


Economic Security


​Goal 4: Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources (SDG 5.a; CEDAW article 13).


There remains a desire to more fully understand the potential impact of GLI. A project collecting data from a broad sub set of actors, not only GLI-aware organizations, but also general entrepreneurial support funds, incubators, and accelerators, could continue to build the case for GLI and provide an understanding of the wide range of outcomes that are possible when gender is brought to bear on investment. This could involve a combination of: context-specific workshops on gender and finance; collecting and providing gender-disaggregated data at the national level; sharing best practices through publications or events; and building the case for GLI through case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of specific programs.


Monitoring and evaluation systems could be harnessed to provide data and make use of participatory processes to more fully understand the value of GLI to local stakeholders.

Resources and More Information

Mapping Gender Lens Investing in the Global South