Special Report

Gender Lens Investing 2021: Supporting a women-focused recovery reviews the 2020 performance and composition of gender lens equity funds, offers an overview of gender lens fixed income vehicles and explores the dynamics shaping publicly-available gender lens investing in 2021.

Key Findings

  • Publicly-traded gender lens equity funds (GLEFs) ended 2020 with US$2.67 billion in AUM, including US$106 million in new funds launched during the year. AUM grew 40% in 2020, for funds covered by Parallelle Finance at end-2019.
  • There are 12 global equity funds and 16 regional equity funds available to individual investors. These are listed in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., the E.U., South Korea, and Japan.
  • As a group, gender lens equity funds have 48% female management, compared to 14% of fund managers globally and 11% in the U.S.
  • While there are no clear sector winners on gender equality, top sector weightings for these equity funds are information technology and financial services, two sectors with well researched gaps in gender equality.
  • AUM-weighted country allocations are dominated by the U.S. at 58%, followed by Canada and several E.U. allocations.
  • Directing capital toward companies and sectors characterized by women in low-paying roles is one way that gender lens funds can help drive a women-focused recovery.
  • The growing array of gender lens fixed income offerings includes U.S. and emerging markets funds, private financial institution bond issues, development finance institution (DFI)-backed bonds, U.S. notes and certificates, and a lending platform.

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

As of December 31, 2020
Sources: Fund fact sheets

Figure B: Top GLEF Performers. As in the broader equity markets, performance was impacted by allocations in information technology, a sector with well researched gender gaps, which strongly outperformed for the year. A full discussion of performance and composition of the GLEF group is included in the report.