For the context of this toolkit, gender is defined as:

The social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationships between women and men and girls and boys, as well as the relations between women and those between men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialisation processes. They are context/time-specific and changeable. Gender determines what is expected, allowed and valued in a woman or a man in a given context. (United Nations, 2001)

It is important to note that the content of the Gender Toolkit is based on a binary identification of gender and does not assess non-male or non-female identities across the spectrum. Additional research is needed to understand the role that the intersectionality of sex, race, class, gender, and other key identifiers play in investment and business performance. Gender represents only one form of diversity, and there are many others that can create value.


  • Baselining

    A starting point that begins with an assessment of your current porfolio to determine: where you are today, where you’ve come from, and what any future efforts will be compared against. It is also useful to see how your current portfolio rates against certain metrics, and to better understand if this has changed over time.


  • ESG action plan (ESAP)

    Mitigation measures and actions necessary for a company to comply with applicable Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) laws and regulations, and to meet the requirements of the applicable standards, including investor’s requirements. The ESG Action Plan may range from a brief description of routine mitigation measures to a series of specific plans.


  • GBVH risk

    The potential for workers, community members or service users to experience GBVH.

  • Gender action plan (GAP)

    A roadmap for gender activities or interventions to achieve specific gender targets and/or outcomes. Typically includes key objectives, time-bound targets, outputs/Key Performance Indicators, stakeholder responsibilities, priority areas of action, mechanisms for implementation and measuring, and resources needed/budget.

  • Gender as a factor of analysis

    Gender intentionally embedded as a factor of analysis in the investment process, including risks and opportunities.

  • Gender aware

    Recognises men and women engaged within their investment portfolio have different levels of access, needs, preferences and behaviours.

  • Gender champion

    Senior leader that promotes and advances gender equality through management of their team(s) and in their work.

  • Gender diagnostic

    A data-driven analysis of the status of women and men within a workforce.

  • Gender equality

    Requires equal enjoyment of socially-valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards regardless of gender (defined by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). Generally, where inequality exists, women are excluded or disadvantaged in relation to decision-making and access to economic and social resources.

  • Gender equity

    The process of being treated fairly, regardless of one’s gender (UNFPA). To ensure fairness, strategies and fairness must often be able to compensate for historical and social disadvantages that prevent women from experiencing a level playing field.

  • Gender indicator

    A point of measurement of gender-related changes over time. This can be quantitative or qualitative measurement.

  • Gender intervention

    A deliberate involvement in a process or system intended to influence events and/or consequences around gender roles and responsibilities. May refer to a single activity or set of activities organised within a project, program or instrument. (Adapted from Belcher, Palenberg, 2018)

  • Gender leading

    Gender-smart investing is a priority that drives adoption of a gender lens across internal policies, processes and decisions.

  • Gender neutral

    No gendered consideration intentionally applied to analysis or investment decision-making process.

  • Gender scorecard

    A tool, typically a set of questions or criteria, to assess women’s economic empowerment and gender equality within investment opportunities.

  • Gender strategy

    An approach or general direction set for a company or organisation to address identified gender disparities, constraints, and/or opportunities.

  • Gender-based risk

    Any sort of workplace risk related to gender roles or vulnerabilities (e.g. gender-based violence or sexual harassment, gender discrimination, etc.).

  • Gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH)

    An umbrella term for violence and harassment directed at persons because of their sex or gender, or affecting persons of a particular sex or gender disproportionately, and includes sexual harassment.


  • Impact pathway/theory of change

    This shows how each proposed activity is going to lead to outputs, how these outputs will lead to outcomes, and how outcomes will lead to impact, the ultimate objective. The Impact Pathway also includes any key assumptions and conditions required for the impact narrative to hold true.


  • Sex disaggregated data

    Data collected and analysed separately on males and females; for companies this is typically assessed across job function, level and location and across performance indicators such as retention and absenteeism.

  • Sex-based harassment

    A range of behaviours that do not always have a goal of sexual compliance, including (1) gender harassment (verbal and nonverbal behaviours that demean women and/or femininity; (2) unwanted sexual attention and (3) sexual coercion pertaining to behaviours that threaten loss of job, unfavourable work assignments or loss of pay, promotion or better assignments in return for sexual cooperation (Law & Human Behaviour, 2010).

  • Sexual abuse

    Actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions (United Nations, 2017).

  • Sexual exploitation

    Any act or attempted abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another (United Nations, 2017).

  • Sexual harassment

    Unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature (UN Secretary General, 2008).

  • Stakeholder group

    A specific role or function in which women are often under-represented and face higher barriers/gaps as compared to their male counterparts; typically listed as Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Employees, Consumers.


  • Unconscious bias

    Learned stereotypes that are automatic and unintentional and influence behaviours and decision-making.


  • Violence against women

    Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life (UN General Assembly, 1993).


  • Women’s economic empowerment

    Requires a woman to have both the ability to succeed and advance economically and the power to make and act on economic decisions (ICRW, 2011). Gender-based violence is violence directed against a person on the basis of gender. It constitutes a breach of the fundamental right to life, liberty, security, dignity, equality between women and men, non-discrimination and physical and mental integrity (Council of Europe, 2012).

  • Women’s empowerment

    About identifying and redressing power imbalances and giving women more autonomy to manage their own lives. Women’s empowerment is defined as the expansion in one’s ability to make strategic life choices in a context where this ability was previously denied to her (or him) (Kabeer, 1999).

  • Workplace harassment

    A form of employment discrimination that includes unwelcome conduct based on race, colour, religion, sex, disability or genetic information (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2018).