Thanks to the Barrow Cadbury Trust, we have started a new piece of research that we think will be key for both social investors and for organisations working on Gender Equality.

We are currently looking at gender lens investing – i.e. using gender as a category during the investment process in order to obtain social and/or financial returns.

Our previous research, as detailed in our Unequal Nation report, shows that there seems to be a lack of understanding of gender, and of how to apply a gender lens to investment decisions, in the social finance sector. In turn, we know that the gender equality initiatives are struggling to get finance, and that organisations working in the sector do not always know how to access the social financing and investments. 

Through this project we want to support knowledge and capacity building so that social financiers are able to utilise a gender lens to make more effective and sustainable social investments.

We also want to know what the current funding situation is for organisations working on gender equality. What kinds of funding do they normally access, and do they know about social finance and how to approach social financiers? What tools would they need to enable them to access funders that do not normally focus on gender equality returns?

In order to map the current reality of both the social investment sector and gender equality organisations we need to know what they are doing, how, and what tools do they think they need.

As part of our research we are conducting two surveys.

One is tailored to organisations working on gender equality. We want to map how much social investment/ newer forms of social finance are reaching women’s organisations as well as what support exists to help them reach non-traditional (for the women’s sector) sources of finance. We need the participation of women and girls’ and gender equality organisations, from small grass groups to national organisations.

The other survey is tailored to organisations working on social finance, regardless of whether they work on gender or not. We want to learn what do social investors understand gender to be, and how do they, if at all, apply this knowledge to their decisions on what to finance and how. We want to understand what is happening, how, and what tools are necessary in order to ensure investors are able to apply a gender lens to the work they do.

The more information we have, the better able we will be to deliver research that fits our current reality in the UK, and develop tools that are of practical use to investors and gender equality organisations.

Each survey has 15 -20 questions and will no longer than 20 minutes to complete. All results will be anonymised. By participating in it, and encouraging others to do so, you will be helping develop knowledge, and more importantly, tools, to ensure social investments are able to address gender as part of their social impact. Please help us!

For any questions or comments please contact me at