Gender Lens Investing 2023

Gender Lens Investing 2023 examines fourth-quarter performance and composition of gender lens equity funds and provides updates on gender lens fixed income and women in the workplace and economy. The review also includes:

The Global Women’s Economy: Count Us In.

Key Findings

  • Publicly traded gender lens equity funds (GLEFs) totaled US$4.8 billion in AUM as of December 31, 2022. AUM growth was 9.4% for the quarter and 20.6% for the calendar year, including new funds launched.
  • There are 21 global equity funds and 20 regional equity funds available to individual investors. These are domiciled in the U.S., Canada, the E.U., Republic of Korea, and Japan. Eight GLEFs have launched in the last 12 months.
  • The gender lens equity funds turned in positive relative performance for the quarter. Over half of the global equity GLEFs outperformed the MSCI broad global indexes. All the U.S. equity funds outperformed the U.S. broad market
  • In addition to GLEF fund outperformance, the global and U.S. Solactive Equileap gender equality indexes outperformed the broad market for the quarter and year.
  • Gender lens fixed income AUM was US$8.0 billion as of December 31, 2022. Quarterly AUM was flat.  AUM growth for the 1-year period was -5.8%, driven by maturities and a tough macroeconomic environment for new issues.
  • There were new gender bond issues announced during the quarter, including in Ecuador and Kyrgyzstan, the first INR-denominated gender bond on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, and the US$50 million Women’s Livelihood Bond 5 on the Singapore Stock Exchange.
  • We also watch sustainable bonds that employ a gender lens. There were new issues during the quarter, including by Nordea, Bank of America, and Banobras.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) funds totaled US$1.5 billion in AUM as of December 31, 2022, including additions to our coverage universe. This growing group of funds focuses on investing in companies with robust DEI policies or social justice track records.
  • The report provides an analysis of gender gaps in the global economy. The analysis includes a wide-lens view of women’s economic participation; core indicators of women’s labor force participation rates, employment, and pay gaps; and indicators of the global and U.S. care economy.
  • The Parallelle Finance Scorecard is a tool for evaluating funds with an in-depth gender lens. Year-end Scorecard rankings of the gender lens equity funds in our coverage universe are included in the report.

Figure A: 12 Largest GLEFs by AUM (in US$ millions)

As of December 31, 2022; Source: Fund fact sheets

Figure B: GLEF Top Absolute Performers. Along with the broader market, the gender lens equity funds generally traded up for the 3-month period ending December 31, 2022. Figure B shows the top absolute performers for the quarter (in base currencies), as well as their weights in the top two sectors for the GLEF asset class. Relative performance was strong for the quarter. Over half of the global equity GLEFs outperformed the MSCI broad global indexes. All the U.S. equity funds outperformed the U.S. broad market. A full discussion of performance and composition of the GLEF group is included in the report.