Mainstreaming Gender Lens Investing

“We’d love to have a gender lens, but we’d have nothing to invest in.” I rocked back on my heels, absorbing this statement from the head of the Africa division of a large social investment fund.

Investing in women is an opportunity, not a constraint—and one that can accelerate change for everyone.

Yet he is not alone. Two years ago, when I first talked with the head of a domestic fund investing in women entrepreneurs, she said, “Jackie I don’t have a gender lens.” Her concern was that a...