What We Are Reading: April 2021

Illustration by Paula Champagne
To date, gender lens investing and climate-smart investing have been largely siloed. This report argues that their integration “can unlock huge untapped opportunities.” The Equality Fund is honoured to be tagged in the report as an investment and grant-making actor that is instrumental in raising awareness of intersections and cross-connections. 

Climate-smart investments fund activities or organizations that directly support climate change mitigation or adaptation alongside financial returns. Gender lens investing considers gender-based factors such as women’s leadership, employment or consumption to increase returns and impact while advancing gender equality. Climate change impacts disproportionately affect women and girls, and gender equality and women’s leadership can jump-start climate action.

The report lists five reasons for gender lens and climate-smart investing: 

  • Mitigate risk (climate risk, reputational risk).
  • Re-envision and fulfill fiduciary duty and meet investors’ expectations (capital for both financial and societal returns).
  • Drive long-term value (new markets, new lines of business, new customers, attracting and retaining talent).
  • Find new investment opportunities (women as innovators and entrepreneurs creating climate crisis solutions).
  • Amplify social impact (gender equality and climate change action impact the other Sustainable Development Goals). 

The only silo in the gender and climate change conversation should be of the agricultural variety. Incidentally, agriculture is one of the three sectors (alongside energy and infrastructure) on which the report does a deep-dive analysis.

Gender & Climate Investment: A strategy for unlocking a sustainable future —  GenderSmart (February 2021)

Gendersmart enviroment

Much like gender lens and climate action investing, women’s rights and environmental justice organizations often operate in separate worlds. This report builds a bridge by offering 10 recommendations to centre gender justice in environmental action. 

The report recommends that environmental justice organizations:

  • Develop and implement a gender policy and hold policymakers and investors to account for women’s rights commitments.
  • Recognize their own power and identify and address norms that block women’s rights.
  • Support women to define their own agendas, claim their rights, and take leadership roles. 
  • Employ feminist tools like participatory action research and feminist monitoring, evaluation, and learning. 
  • Partner with and fund women’s rights organizations.

Both ENDS speaks from practical experience; each recommendation is accompanied by a partner organization case study. Both ENDS transcends the environmental justice-women’s rights divide in working toward a fair and sustainable world in which everyone has a voice. 

Embedding Gender Justice in Environmental Action: Where to start? Both ENDS (November 2020)

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The World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report tracks progress toward closing gender-based gaps in 156 countries in four key dimensions: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political empowerment. 

The 2021 report comes out one year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. The pandemic’s impacts have delayed closing the global gender gap by a generation, from 99.5 years to 135.6 years. 

The widest gender gap is in political empowerment, followed by economic participation and opportunity. Gender gaps in educational attainment and health and survival are nearly closed, however there are significant variations across geography, race, ethnicity, and income. 

Global Gender Gap Report 2021 World Economic Forum (March 2021)


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