About the Gender Lens

“Good Return has always applied a gender analysis in our programs, but the gender lens investing analysis enables us to go beyond counting women in business, and examine the gender norms, leadership and authority challenges that women face in a value chain. Just because a woman is present doesn’t mean she is active in the decision-making process.”
– Jessie Fisher, Pacific Regional Manager, Good Return

A gender lens on investment leads to better outcomes for women 

Wherever possible, Pacific RISE promoted investment in businesses that deliver women’s economic empowerment. Gender lens investing incorporates gender analysis into the systems of investing to make better decisions. Each investment deal has this lens applied: the deal is examined using a gender analysis framework, including asking questions about power, context, gender norms and patterns, to understand how these impact who has access, control and who will benefit from the investments. The gender analysis highlights differences in power dynamics, understanding how they are creating advantages for those with power or disadvantages for those that don’t. 

Pacific RISE worked with the Criterion Institute, a think tank specialised in gender lens investing, to support financial intermediaries and investors to apply a gender lens during the investment process alongside a financial analysis and supported the program in developing tools and research in implementing a gender lens in the Pacific context. 

Find out more about our approach to gender lens investing by: 

Integrating gender lens investing in our analysis and investor tools 

In addition to applying a gender lens to all the investments in the Pacific RISE portfolio, the program worked with partners to develop tools that can be used by anyone looking to enhance gender equality in their investments.  The use of these tools for Pacific RISE has uncovered the ‘hidden’ value of markets such as creative arts and menstrual health where women in the Pacific predominantly participate, as well as examining social issues affecting women such as gender-based violence.  Pacific RISE, in partnership with the Criterion Institute put together the world first due diligence tool for investors that highlights areas of risk due to gender-based violence. 

Pacific RISE used Criterion Institute’s expertise to link with global opportunities to attract investors and support from others committed to finance as a tool for gender equality. This way, Pacific RISE could work with investors to showcase how a gender lens produces better investment returns, stronger impact and at times uncovers innovation or opportunities that may have otherwise been overlooked. Together Pacific RISE and Criterion developed a gender patterns tool and a gender equality resource tool to facilitate deeper knowledge about cultural norms and how they influence impact outcomes.

Case Studies

Applying a gender lens changed how intermediaries see value in businesses that have an impact on women’s economic empowerment and the market overall. The Difference Incubator shares their experience of gender lens investing in Vanuatu. 

Pacific RISE supported intermediaries and investors to use a gender lens in scoping, selecting businesses, investment readiness, due diligence, enterprise support and measuring outcomes. This has created a ripple effect, with some intermediaries, such as Good Return applying a gender lens across all of their portfolio, not just those Pacific investments.