Portfolio Learning

New Gender report shows inclusion aligned with improved business performance

In 2018, we published A Business-First Approach to Gender Inclusion, which presented the opportunity that holistic gender inclusion represented for small businesses and investors operating in the clean energy sector.

The report showed clear business performance improvements when a gender-lens is applied to areas including sales, marketing, market research, customer service and hiring.

Four years on, a follow-up report based on research conducted by Value for Women (VfW) and co-funded with UK aid from the UK government presents nine case studies that build the evidence base for gender-forward business practices in action.

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The report shows how a business-based approach to gender inclusion does more than just benefit women as entrepreneurs, employees and consumers. Gender inclusion is a performance strategy aligned with more profitable and sustainable business models.

  • 74% of SMEs that track impacts of gender-inclusive (GI) policies reported positive impacts on employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.
  • One business saw both a 38% decrease in processing time and a doubling of daily incomes for women farmers following the implementation of gender-inclusive strategies around productivity.
  • 68% of SMEs that implemented GI strategies in R&D, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Distribution & Logistics reported improvements in customer satisfaction; 60% reported improvements in brand recognition.
  • 43% of SMEs that implemented gender-inclusive strategies in R&D, Sales, Marketing, or Customer Service reported increased sales revenue; 42% reported increased client retention.

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The report concludes with calls to action for investors, SMEs and Ecosystem actors, and includes an “Inclusive Business Growth Framework”, a standardised assessment process that uses business and investor data to identify gaps and opportunities for gender inclusion.