There's a growing body of evidence that gender equality and women's leadership and participation boosts the performance of companies and countries. So what do we do about it?
Suzanne Biegel, who calls herself a “catalyst-at-large,” has launched Women Effect, to help entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and others figure that out together. Suzanne, a longtime angel investor, wrote recently about training herself to look at her own portfolio through a gender lens. Women Effect will help others do the same.
I caught up recently with Suzanne for ImpactAlpha's Returns on Investment podcast series. She explained there's not a single gender lens, but rather multiple lenses. (Indeed, you can read more about them in ImpactAlpha's Gender Lenses section.)
Listen to ImpactAlpha's interview with Suzanne Biegel in our Returns on Investment podcast.
The first lens is women's entrepreneurship. “Whether they’re high-growth high-tech women entrepreneurs, whether they’re women entrepreneurs doing ground breaking thing with social impact in emerging markets, there is a body of evidence that says, ‘When we get capital into the hands of women entrepreneurs, good things will happen.’”
A second lens is the products and services a company offers. If those products positively affects the lives of women and girls, such companies can be gender lens investments, even if they are male-led. And a third lens is a business's commitment to gender equality “in ownership, in leadership, in supply chain, in distribution channels.” With her friends at Criterion Institute, Suzanne has an updated whitepaper about upgrading your due diligence with a gender lens.
Women Effect, her new organization, will bring investors, philanthropists, wealth advisors together. “People want to find co-investors,” Suzanne told me. “They want to find things to invest in. They want to develop their strategy. And they want to be able to really collaborate to create new investible vehicles that meet their objectives….to move more capital with more velocity, with more strategic intent towards a gender lens, and towards the women effect.”