Invest2Equal: Private Equity and Venture Capital as a Catalyst for Advancing Gender Equality

Only 11 percent of senior investment positions are held by women in private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) in emerging markets, and about 7 percent of female entrepreneurs in emerging markets receive equity investment capital. Of the estimated $6.3 trillion in assets under management within private equity, only $6 billion is advancing gender equality.

A Business Opportunity

Private equity and venture capital can play a catalytic role in closing economic gaps between men and women—while strengthening enterprise growth, job creation, and financial security. Portfolio companies with gender balanced leadership teams outperformed in valuation increases by as much as 25 percent than non-diverse teams. Evidence also shows that gender-smart investment strategies can help grow a company’s competitiveness, solidify its supply base, improve its human capital, and help build an overall enabling business environment.


Invest2Equal, is an IFC-led program, launched in 2022 in partnership with the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), that brings together IFC portfolio fund managers to make specific, measurable, and time-bound commitments to increase gender diversity within their firm and/or investment processes.

Fund Managers can direct capital towards solutions that drive gender equality by investing in companies along five gender-smart investment strategies:

  1. Women represented in leadership
  2. Gender-diverse and equitable workforce
  3. Gender-inclusive value chain
  4. Products or services that consider the distinct needs of women as a consumer segment
  5. Operations do no harm to women in the community

Fund Managers are also committing to strengthening the gender diversity of their workforce and investment teams. Through the program, fund managers in emerging markets will participate in peer learning events to share their expertise and expand their knowledge of best practices in gender-smart investing, as well as one-on-one expert mentoring and sounding board guidance to achieve their gender commitments. Please see the program brief for more information on Invest2Equal.

The business case to prioritize gender equality is compelling, and the lesson for all of us is clear—championing women leadership and gender-smart investing is key not only to promoting inclusion and sustainability, but also to creating long-term value for funds and businesses alike.

— William Sonneborn, Global Director & Chair of Investment Committee, IFC

Fund Managers Participating in the Invest2Equal Initiative

Pilar Marroquin C
Invest2Equal Program Lead
Evangelia Tsiftsi
Communications Specialist, Gender and Economic Inclusion
+1 202-473-4159