A review of the literature finds that the existing business case evidence is heavily focused exclusively on women in senior leadership, obscuring the potential gains from investing in women as employees at all levels and as entrepreneurs, customers, and community members5.
5 “Investing in Women: New Evidence for the Business Case” by the IFC.

If so, read on for the business case for including women, what we have learned about this business case from small and medium enterprises and our own work in emerging markets, and clarity on what it all means. At the end are the most powerful actions that investors, enterprise support organizations, businesses, and donors can take to move the needle on women´s inclusion, and tools for doing so.

Several investors with whom we spoke agree that the existing business case evidence is mostly specific to bigger companies, which can reduce how compelling it is to small and medium-sized businesses in emerging markets.

An illustrative look at the extent of different types of evidence that exists on gender and business:

“The data is out there, but specific contextual case studies with data on impacts on business growth in certain sectors are missing. That is, data on specific metrics attributable to gender interventions
are missing.”
María Pía Morante Pérez-Reyes
Investment Director, ALIVE Ventures

Several leaders of finance and entrepreneurship networks –even those focused on social impact– noted that the business case is clear but that in order to drive action it needs to be better communicated.


to change business as usual sometimes hinders the ability of the evidence to drive action.
Enterprises and investors have neither tools nor support
on hand to act, making any action seem complex and costly even in the face of the business case.