Around the Institute

Peering Through a Gender Lens at SOCAP12

October 15, 2012  • Logan Yonavjak

This was originally posted on Next Billion.

I was invited to join a fascinating conversation at SOCAP12 about Gender Lens investing. Criterion Institute, one of the main organizations driving the conversation, describes a “Gender Lens “as a viewfinder that reveals opportunities for the world of investing with a focus on women and girls. The goal of Gender Lens investing is to drive increased investing and return through the implementation of a Gender Lens.

I joined a team of 30-plus men and women Gender Lens ambassadors, armed with talking points by two of the main leaders of the conversation, Jackie VanderBrug (formerly with Criterion Institute) and Suzanne Biegel (Catalyst at Large Consulting and an active angel investor). Although several specific workshops and presentations at SOCAP12 (see VanderBrug’s presentation from SOCAP12 here) were focused on this issue, our task was to attend sessions, interact with attendees, and infuse the dialogue of the entire conference with this gender lens perspective. Suzanne brought an additional component to the conversation with an emphasis on the “Women Effect” of developing a larger base of engaged women impact investors, advisors, and board members.

 Emphasis on the “Lens”

One critical item to note is the concept of a Gender Lens, not a screen. It’s important to clarify that looking through a Gender Lens does not mean that men are excluded from the equation; it’s more like an expansion of opportunity. Seeing through a Gender Lens is like peering through a set of glasses.


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