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A Lean Data How-To-Guide: Understanding Gender Impact

A classroom full of cheerful and energetic girls preparing for class in India

Acumen and Unilever have partnered to bring a gender lens to impact measurement with a new toolkit designed to better understand how programs and services are affecting women and girls across the globe.

  • Report
  • All Problems
  • All Regions
  • 2019

We believe that limitations in our capacity to measure progress against these goals are a key part of the problem. Current gender-specific measurement practices focus primarily on the number of women and girls impacted by various programs. This is a good start, but it is not enough. To help close the gender gap more quickly, we need tools to help us understand how different approaches, with different intentions and designs, specifically impact different genders.

Acumen first examined its portfolio with a gender lens in 2014-15, publishing its findings in a 2015 report titled “Women and Social Enterprises: How Gender Integration Can Boost Entrepreneurial Solutions to Poverty.” Several key patterns emerged in the research:

  1. There are significant opportunities for market expansion through focus on female consumers.
  2. Companies have the potential to increase productivity through improved engagement of female employees and investments in capacity building for women.
  3. Women are significantly underrepresented at the senior management and board level, which could slow progress in broader efforts to integrate gender. These gaps often reflect a limited pipeline of women in entry- and mid-level roles.

The report also includes a diagnostic tool to help investors and enterprises assess how they are impacting women and men across business models and uncover opportunities to improve their impact.