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The Rise of Gender Capitalism is improving the Financial and Social Return of Investments.

November 19, 2014

Toronto – Investing with a gender lens can create financial and social impact by constructing a new economic logic that bridges the market logic of financial returns with the feminist logic of women’s equality, says an article which was published in the Fall 2014 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review.

The article, co-authored by Sarah Kaplan, a professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and Jackie VanderBrug, a senior vice president and investment strategist at U.S. Trust, says seeing through a gender lens can improve the financial and social return of investments.

“The idea of a ‘lens’ is that it shifts the way we see the world. Seeing through a gender lens allows us to uncover hidden opportunities or risks and recognize bias in the deployment of capital,” explains Prof. Kaplan.
The article points out three key ways that a gender lens can improve financial and social returns. The first is in helping women gain access to capital both as investors and investees, whether it is in Silicon Valley, Wall Street or Bangladesh. For example, only 6% of U.S. venture capital funding goes to women-led businesses which means that a lot of exciting startups are not getting funded for reasons that have nothing to do with quality.  
The second is using capital to promote workplace equality by valuing gender diversity in leadership and promoting equal rights throughout the supply chain. Research has compellingly demonstrated that inclusive environments are associated with better performance, yet investors are only now catching on to the potential for increasing returns.
The third is through designing products and services that empower women and girls and improve their lives, from clean cook stoves in Africa to pharmaceuticals that have been tested on women and adjusted for them. This is not about selling products to women by making them “pink” but about thinking about all the unmet needs of women and girls.
The complete article is online at
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Ken McGuffin
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Rotman School of Management
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Meet the Author Sarah Kaplan

Sarah Kaplan is Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Rotman. She is a co-author of the bestselling business book, Creative Destruction.