InBC Investment Corp. InBC Investment Corp.
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Gender Lens Investing (GLI) and Gender Lens Investing funds are on the rise globally. Between 2018 and 2021 alone, public equity and fixed income GLI funds increased from $2.4 billion to over $12 billion USD. But what is Gender Lens Investing, and why is it important?

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines Gender Lens Investing as a strategy or approach to investing that takes into consideration gender-based factors across the investment process to advance equality and better inform investment decisions. Typically, this is addressing women and women-identifying people and girls however, this definition can include non-binary people and anyone on the gender continuum who are currently underrepresented and underserved.

There are three key areas to Gender Lens Investing:

Gender equality vs. equity 

Gender equality is the concept that all people regardless of gender identity should have the freedom to make choices and develop their personal goals without limitations set by stereotypes, gender roles or prejudices. For example, access to education, pay parity and the right to vote all fall under gender equality.

Gender equity takes this concept further by considering the fairness of treatment according to a gender’s respective needs. For example, maternity and paternity leave, gender-specific product designs and women’s healthcare all support gender equity.

When applying Gender Lens Investing, we consider both equality and equity to support both equal and fair access to resources and opportunities.

Why Gender Lens Investing? 

First and foremost, Gender Lens Investing promotes a more equal and equitable world. Women and girls are underrepresented and underserved in many areas, including in the media, workplace, venture capital and in product design and services. From an investment perspective, GLI can unlock significant untapped market potential.

Did you know? 

  • Startups founded or co-founded by women generate more revenue than startups founded solely by men but receive less investment. 
  • In the U.S., women-founded companies exit faster than the market average but receive on average only 2% of VC funding
  • U.S. venture capital firms that increased their number of women partners saw more profitable exits. In Canada, only 19% of VC partners are women. 
  • Companies with strong women leadership at the board level generate a return equity higher than companies without a critical mass of women on their boards. 
  • Women make the majority of consumer purchasing decisions and is projected to own 75% of discretionary spend by 2028.
Diverse women sitting around a lunch table high fiving

InBC’s approach to Gender Lens Investing 

InBC’s approach to Gender Lens Investing considers the following:

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) 

We assess the diversity of teams at individual companies and funds, as well as the DEI practices in place across the InBC portfolio. 

Elevating Inclusive Communities 

Under our impact objective to Elevate Inclusive Communities, we evaluate whether a fund, product or service creates specific outcomes and benefits for under-represented communities.  

In the case of gender, we consider if an investment will generate positive impact for women and girls irrespective of whether the organization is women-found or women-led.

Screening In vs. Screening Out 

Instead of screening out investments, we screen in investment opportunities generating impact and use influence as an investor to help increase DEI at companies and funds. 

Intersectionality of Impact  

We consider the intersectionality of GLI and other areas of impact, such as climate action or racial justice—issues which disproportionately affect the lives of women and girls.

Woman holding a girl in an agricultural field during golden hour

What we are focusing on

InBC’s GLI approach is focused on the following: 

InBC recognizes that change happens at the systemic level and works with companies and funds no matter where they are on their GLI journey.   

As the Province of British Columbia’s strategic investment fund, InBC is investing in a more prosperous, sustainable and inclusive future for B.C. Recent initiatives by the Province — such as requiring pay transparency and becoming the first province to offer free prescription contraception — are helping to close the gender equity gap in our province. InBC’s approach to GLI is contributing to efforts such as these to scale our collective impact and support a more equitable British Columbia.

You can learn more about InBC’s investment strategy in our Investment Strategy Overview

Companies and funds seeking investment

Are you a company whose product or service is creating positive outcomes for under-represented groups and seeking investment to support your scale up? Learn more about our investment criteria and impact objectives and consider submitting your information through our website to be reviewed by our investment team.