The following article was written by Suzanne Biegel, former IFB Steering Committee member, and first published in May 2021.
There is a suite of books and resources from leading thinkers in the investment community that either touch upon or more deeply examine gender-smart investing. This explosion of gender-smart literature speaks to both a growing interest in women’s financial empowerment, and a hunger amongst investors – men and women – more generally for information about moving their money is smart and in a way that aligns with their values.
These books all tackle gender-smart investing from different perspectives, and are great resources to share with your friends, colleagues, clients, to deepen your own thinking, or to start you on your gender-smart investment journey. Read on to learn more about these fantastic resources and their authors, and choose one – or more – to grace your bookshelf.
Financial Feminism by Jessica Robinson (released in February 2021)
Jessica is an active investor, based in Dubai, and so committed to getting women engaged around impact investing. Her book, Financial Feminism, is a response to the “investment gap” between men and women – aiming not just to get more women to start investing, but to inspire them to invest their money with intention. As Jessica put it in a recent interview with UAE’s National News, “Financial feminism represents the opportunity for women to use their financial power to build the kind of world that they want to live in.”
The Good Your Money Can Do by Eva Yahzari (released in March 2021)
Eva started her career in mainstream finance, before diving into impact investing many years ago with Beyond Capital Fund, a nonprofit gender lens fund investing in emerging markets. She now runs Beyond Capital Ventures, a for-profit fund with a similar remit, and co-hosts The Beyond Capital Podcast. The Good Your Money Can Do is targeted at the experienced traditional investor who is curious about investing their money in line with their values. A relentless field-builder and fellow Toniic investor for many years, Eva argues that “money is currency and currency is energy.”
Moving Money for Impact: A Guide to Gender Lens Investing by Tuti Scott with Lex Schroeder (released in March 2021)
Tuti has been a long-distance runner in philanthropy and the crossover to impact investing and gender lens investing. She was most recently chair of the board of Tides Foundation and then its acting Executive Director. Moving Money for Impact is a free guide that takes a practical look at the gender lens investing field, spotlighting innovative gender lens investors such as the Texas Women’s Foundation, Tara Health Foundation, and Adasina Social Capital, as well as deeper philosophical lessons about naming and shifting power.
Activate Your Money by Janine Firpo (released in April 2021)
Janine is another very active impact investor, a fellow member of Next Wave Impact, and a passionate field builder. She wrote this book in partnership with more than 150 people, with the goal of helping women “who have been left out of the financial conversation to take control of their money, to learn how to invest with confidence, and to give them the options they need to make investments in the things they care about.” The result is a real “how to” of impact and gender lens investing, with practical information on everything from choosing a bank, to bonds, public equities, private investments, pensions, financial advisors, and more. I was lucky enough to read a sneak preview and I love this guide.
Adventure Finance by Aunnie Patton Power (released June 2021)
Aunnie has been teaching impact investing for many, many years in Africa and the UK. She wrote Adventure Finance on the premise that although venture capital is the highest profile type of investment, it doesn’t work for 99% of startups and small businesses – which means we need alternatives, both for founders and for funders. The book helps to explain what some of these alternatives are, and walks the reader through real life examples of how founders and funders have put them to use. This is a deep dive on alternative, innovative, and blended finance models. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview and I am counting on this as a real handbook for me and everyone I know on alternative investment models. While these tools and models can be useful for all investment, I find them particularly relevant for gender-smart investing.
Impact Investing Handbook by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (released in 2020)
I carried around the original version of this for many years to share with impact investors and those who were moving from philanthropy to impact investing, and I was delighted to have the chance to write the section on gender lens investing for the updated version, released last year. Rockefeller’s guide is a practical publication featuring case studies and detailed guidance for individuals, families, foundations, and corporates. I love this book, and think it’s a key resource for any impact investor or someone who wants to learn about impact investing.
The Global Handbook of Impact Investing offers an extensive recap of the best practices and thought leadership over a wide range of sustainability themes. I’ve been investing with Paul for many years via HIP Investor and I really respect his ability to address mainstream investing with an ESG lens, viewing gender as a core factor for so long. The book is unique for its global perspective, bringing together knowledge and case studies spanning five continents.