Gender lens investments in private markets grow by 30%

Gender lens investments are flowing into sectors where women have traditionally been poorly represented

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Holly Downes

Gender lens investing in private markets has grown by more than 30% in the past two years, Project Catalyst research by 2X Global has revealed.

The initiative, funded by the Visa Foundation, measures the size and scope of gender lens investing (GLI) in private markets. The research is gathered from over 100 investors and fund managers working in private equity, venture capital and private debt worldwide.

It shows both the number of funds and assets under management have grown since the last report in December 2021 from its predecessor initiative, Project SAGE. Some 273 gender funds were identified by the 125 fund managers surveyed for the report, an increase from the 206 private GLI funds.

The study reveals that gender lens investing is taking place across asset classes, sectors and geographies. Further, this investment is being pursued by a broad range of both established and emerging fund managers, evidence of the growth in quantum and sophistication of funds.

In addition to the increased capital, gender lens investments are flowing into sectors where women have traditionally been poorly represented, such as real estate, infrastructure, transportation and industry and manufacturing.

Jessica Espinoza, chief executive of 2X Global, said: “We’ve gained good insight into both where the market for gender lens investing is right now and where it is moving. The survey and follow-up interviews with investors and fund managers, demonstrate the growth in the number of funds and size of the market, but there is room for far more growth.”

Raya Papp, founding partner of Sagana, added: “The most promising insight emerging from Project Catalyst is the mainstreaming of gender finance and gender lens investing across a broad range of GPs and LPs around the world.

“We can now say confidently that investing in women yields outsized financial and social returns. Gender lens investing is at a tipping point, and I look forward to the big strides asset owners and asset managers will continue to make.”

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